A HISTORY OF PERFORMANCE ART FROM FUTURISM TO THE PRESENT DAY .PARTICULARLY CONCENTRATING ON THE BODY ITSELF: PART 6.

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This is my concluding part of my examination of Performance art. I will be discussing artists in the 21st Century particularly Marina Abramovic, Joan Jonas , Hannah Wilke and Elke Krystufek  a controversial Austrian performance artist who some might say posed in a way suitable for a pornographic site. Most of these performance artists were criticised by Feminists and others but as one who abhors censorship I think  it is right to consider these artists as a contribution to Performance art.

” At the same time that artists were working on their bodies as objects , manipulating them as they would a piece of sculpture or a page of poetry others developed a more structured performance which explored the body as an element in space cf  Bruce Nauman “. [1]

” The study of active and passive conduct of the viewer became the basis of many of the New York artist Dan Graham’s performances from the early seventies”. [2].

Goldberg continues her commentary on the role of Graham.

” Graham’s theory of audience- performer relationship was based on Bertold Brecht’s idea of imposing an uncomfortable and self-conscious state on the audience”. [3].

” Referring to Marina Abramovic- similarly seeking to understand the ritualised pain of self-abuse as it is exhibited by psychologically disturbed patients and the disconnections that occur between the body and the self. Marina Abramovic in Belgrade created equally harrowing work”.[4].

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Marina Abramovic went to great lengths and suffered pain to show how aspects of Performance art could show the inner torment of the Human condition.

” In 1974 in a work entitled Rhythm O she permitted  a room full of spectators in Naples Gallery to abuse her at their will for 6 hours”. [5].

” With the artist Ulay  Abramovic together  they explored the pain and endurance of relationships between themselves and the Public”.[6].

Moving onto Joan Jonas another performance artist who used the Body as the art object in exploring aspects of the Human anatomy and how it can be used as a means of revolutionising our approach to art.

” Joan Jonas’s work referred back to the religious ceremonies of the Zuni and Hopi tribes oif the pacific coast”. [7].

” Coinciding with the powerful Women’s movement throughout Europe and the United States it allowed many Women performers to deal with issues that had been relatively little explored by their male counterparts”. [8].

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Goldberg now comes to discuss the role of Hannah Wilkes and her use of her Body to demonstrate how political correctness is wrong and misguided.

” German artist Ulrike Rosenbach dressed in a white Leotard dramatically shot arrows at a Madonna and child target work entitled ‘ Don’t believe I was an amazon”. [9].

”  Hannah Wilkes uninhibited body related to a poster she made at the same time ‘beware of fascist Feminism’ which warned of the dangers of feminist Puritanism  that militated against Women themselves , their sensuality and the pleasure of their own bodies”. [10].

Cosey Fan Tutti caused an uproar when they performed in London .

” In London Cosey fan Tutti and Genesis Porridge alternated between Art performances. it was as Coum that they caused a scandal in London” . [11].

  worldwide. at the same time Minorities were increasingly pressing the issue of ethnic identity and Multi culturalism “. [12].

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Ana Mendieta who I have discussed in other posts married to Minimalist Carl Andre until she fell from a balcony in New York. From Cuban decent she explored Identity , culture and Background.

” Ana Mendieta’s photographs of her ritualistic performances based on the Afro Cuban spiritualism of Santera were among the many performances , installations and works included in the City Wide exhibition”. [13].

” The swell of Latino consciousness inspired many performance artists among them Cabaret parodist Papa Colo”. [14].

This development led to the emergence of Identity politics including gender and race, particularly minority groups which had been marginalised.

” The Identity of otherness also provided a platform for marginalised groups Gays-Lesbians Sex-workers cross Dressers”. [15].

” Public display of sex -death and other private concerns was a statement of artistic solidarity against the conservative backlash of the early 1990’s”. [16].

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Ron Athey  is a controversial performance artist as Goldberg explains in her discussion of his Exhibition in Santa Monica.

” An installation at the Santa Monica museum of arts in California (1992) male strippers , drag queens and drug abusers participated in Ron Athey’s martyrs and saints. In 1996 Elke Krystufex living in a tub of bath water masturbated with a vibrator in a glass walled room at the Vienna Kunstalle in view of hundreds of Gallery  visitors”. [17].

“Performance in the late eighties and early Nineties was frequently used as a form of social protest but it was the influx of artists from former Communist (Stalinist) countries to the west that  made it evident that Performance art had functioned almost exclusively in the east as a form of Political opposition”.[18].

This concludes my History of Performance Art. It has come along way from the early 20th century of futurism to the more provocative artists in the 2oth and 21st centuries. I find it a fascinating subject and I am sure there were will be future developments that will lead to the overthrow of global Capitalism and a end to poverty and oppression.

FOOTNOTES

  1. PERFORMANCE ART FROM FUTURISM TO THE PRESENT. ROSE LEE GOLDBERG.PG.159
  2. DITTO.PG.160
  3. DITTO.PG.162
  4. DITTO.PG.165
  5. DITTO,.PG.165
  6. DITTO.PG.165
  7. DITTO.PG.165
  8. DITTO.PG.174
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  10. DITTO.PG.175
  11. DITTO.PG.182
  12. DITTO.PG.210
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  14. DITTO.PG.212
  15. DITTO.PG.212
  16. DITTO.PG.212
  17. DITTO.PG.212
  18. DITTO.PG.214

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