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Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present

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Performance art is now at the forefront of contemporary art world-wide and the desire for direct engagement with today’s most prominent artists explains its wide appeal to the expanding audience for new art. Artists such as Mariko Mori, Paul McCarthy, Matthew Barney and Forced Entertainment can now be seen in the context of previous innovators, from the Dadaists to Laurie Performance art is now at the forefront of contemporary art world-wide and the desire for direct engagement with today’s most prominent artists explains its wide appeal to the expanding audience for new art. Artists such as Mariko Mori, Paul McCarthy, Matthew Barney and Forced Entertainment can now be seen in the context of previous innovators, from the Dadaists to Laurie Anderson. First published in 1979, now extensively updated and expanded, this pioneering book has been supplemented by the definitive account of the current technological, political and aesthetic shifts in performance art.


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Performance art is now at the forefront of contemporary art world-wide and the desire for direct engagement with today’s most prominent artists explains its wide appeal to the expanding audience for new art. Artists such as Mariko Mori, Paul McCarthy, Matthew Barney and Forced Entertainment can now be seen in the context of previous innovators, from the Dadaists to Laurie Performance art is now at the forefront of contemporary art world-wide and the desire for direct engagement with today’s most prominent artists explains its wide appeal to the expanding audience for new art. Artists such as Mariko Mori, Paul McCarthy, Matthew Barney and Forced Entertainment can now be seen in the context of previous innovators, from the Dadaists to Laurie Anderson. First published in 1979, now extensively updated and expanded, this pioneering book has been supplemented by the definitive account of the current technological, political and aesthetic shifts in performance art.

30 review for Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    Revived review for all you Conceptual Art fans, all three of you! Performance Art was Conceptual Art's dangerous unpredictable, frankly quite unstable younger brother. *** (Warning : this review is not for the squeamish. I know you're probably not that squeamish. But just so you know, there will be pierced flesh and... other things.) * The performance artists are the real lunatics of modern art and I love them all. Here are some of my favourites : VITO ACCONCI 1971 : "Seedbed" (January 15–29, 1971). Revived review for all you Conceptual Art fans, all three of you! Performance Art was Conceptual Art's dangerous unpredictable, frankly quite unstable younger brother. *** (Warning : this review is not for the squeamish. I know you're probably not that squeamish. But just so you know, there will be pierced flesh and... other things.) * The performance artists are the real lunatics of modern art and I love them all. Here are some of my favourites : VITO ACCONCI 1971 : "Seedbed" (January 15–29, 1971). In Seedbed the artist lay hidden underneath a gallery-wide ramp installed at the Sonnabend Gallery, masturbating while vocalizing into a loudspeaker his fantasies about the visitors walking above him on the ramp. 1971 : "Telling Secrets". In a dark abandoned shed by the Hudson River between 1 and 2 AM on a cold winter night the artist whispers secrets to a small audience. Go Vito! CHRIS BURDON - THE IGGY POP OF PERFORMANCE ART In 1971 (the early 70s were very big years for performance art & this book is dated 1979) he performed "Shooting Piece" in which he had a friend shoot him in the arm as an "enquiry into what it feels to be shot. Two or three thousand people get shot every night on tv and it has always been something to be avoided. So i took the flipside and asked what if you faced this head on." Or arm on, as it happened. Chris Burdon has also been crucified on the back of a Volkswagen, briefly taken the hostess of a tv chat show hostage and spent five days jammed into a two feet by two feet by three feet locker at UCLA. In 1974 he sat on an upright chair on a sculpture pedestal for 48 hours until he fell off from exhaustion (piece entitled "Sculpture in Three Parts"). Goldberg says that few people have ever actually witnessed any of Budon's performances "but the extraordinary iconic photos and stark factual captions have given these events a permanent reverberating existence in both the mind and the media". In 1973 he performed "Through the Night Softly" in which he crawled semi-naked across broken glass with his hands tied behind his back. Go Chris! TEHCHING HSIEH One Year Performance 1978–1979 (Cage Piece) In this performance, which lasted from September 29, 1978 through September 30, 1979, the artist locked himself in a 11′6″ × 9′ × 8' wooden cage, furnished only with a wash basin, lights, a pail, and a single bed. During the year, he was not allowed to talk, to read, to write, or to listen to radio and TV. A lawyer, Robert Projansky, notarized the entire process and made sure the artist never left the cage during that one year. A friend came daily to deliver food, remove the artist's waste, and take a single photograph to document the project. In addition, this performance was open to be viewed once or twice a month from 11am to 5pm One Year Performance 1980–1981 (Time Clock Piece) For one year, from April 11, 1980 through April 11, 1981, Hsieh punched a time clock every hour on the hour. Each time he punched the clock, he took a single picture of himself, which together yield a 6 minute movie. He shaved his head before the piece, so his growing hair reflects the passage of time. Documentation of this piece was exhibited at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2009, using film, punch cards and photographs. One Year Performance 1981–1982 (Outdoor Piece) In his third one year performance piece, from September 26, 1981 through September 26, 1982, Hsieh spent one year outside, not entering buildings or shelter of any sort, including cars, trains, airplanes, boats, or tents. He moved around New York City with a backpack and a sleeping bag. Go Tehching! SOME OTHER GUYS Cypriot-Australian artist Stelarc has performed several suspension pieces in which he reproduces the ascetic exercises of some Indian sects by having himself hung from the ceiling by means of (look away now) large fishhooks embedded in his flesh. As you can readily appreciate, there is a great convergence in this type of art with shamanism, where in order to perform some kind of spiritual healing the shaman undertakes transforming or scapegoatlike self-punishing roles on behalf of the tribe or community. So performance art in some aspects is sympathetic magic. Herman Nitsch's Orgies Mysteries Theatre is another version of shamanism - he invents his own rites using all manner of gruesome stuff - dead animals are disembowelled, there is a lot of blood, etc. "Oh, Herman Nitsch is on in town tonight, would you like to go?" is not something you should be suggesting for a first date. Unsurprisingly he had an uneasy relationship with the police. This takes us to the work of the Vienna Actionists and Rudolf Schwartzkogler (1940-1969). But I really really shouldn't describe those. (Shudders, looks sick, turns away.) The most famous performance artist in the world is Yoko Ono. She did all kind of avant stuff and one of her well known pieces was where she would sit on stage & members of the audience would take turns to cut her clothing off with a pair of scissors. The John and Yoko bed-ins for peace and the bagism, all that was performance art. A lot of this stuff is using violent imagery to protest against the violence condoned by society (against women, against civilian populations of countries the west invades, etc). And some of it is just gentle and funny. Yves Klein was the man for that - he releases 1001 blue ballons, he paints his models gold, he exhibits empty rooms. Let's not forget Piero Manzoni either, I love him. He signed the bodies of people and declared that thus they become works of art. He sold chrome cylinders containing his own poo for their weight in gold. There are so many brilliantly witty pieces of performance art that i could spend all morning happily typing them up in a list. There are worse things I could be doing. But you get the ideas. This is not so much a great book as it is stuffed full of great things - 5 stars for all the mad performance artists! (note - the TEHCHING HSIEH info is from Wiki but he is in this book - why isn't this guy famous?)

  2. 4 out of 5

    erich

    ДОРОГАЯ РОУЗЛИ ГОЛДБЕРГ А МОЖНО ПОЖАЛУЙСТА ЕЩЕ БОЛЬШЕ ИМЕН КОТОРЫЕ Я НЕ СМОГУ ЗАПОМНИТЬ СПАСИБО. вообще, нормальный такой ликбез по всему-всему-всему, но одной этой книгой сыт не будешь. теперь нужно читать либо дополнительную аналитику именно по теории перформанса (прекрасная девушка из музея 'гараж' советовала мне шехнера, но где его отыскать..), либо книги, посвященные отдельным представителям жанра (все бегом читать мемуары абрамович, если еще не!!!!). так или иначе, думаю, что я к этой теме ДОРОГАЯ РОУЗЛИ ГОЛДБЕРГ А МОЖНО ПОЖАЛУЙСТА ЕЩЕ БОЛЬШЕ ИМЕН КОТОРЫЕ Я НЕ СМОГУ ЗАПОМНИТЬ СПАСИБО. вообще, нормальный такой ликбез по всему-всему-всему, но одной этой книгой сыт не будешь. теперь нужно читать либо дополнительную аналитику именно по теории перформанса (прекрасная девушка из музея 'гараж' советовала мне шехнера, но где его отыскать..), либо книги, посвященные отдельным представителям жанра (все бегом читать мемуары абрамович, если еще не!!!!). так или иначе, думаю, что я к этой теме еще вернусь, уж больно она завораживает.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    "Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present" is definitely an interesting book. Being recommended to me by my Dramateacher, I thought it would be a sort of massive and exhausting book but no... It can actually be read quite easily and is just great to those who want to know more about the origins of performance. "Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present" is definitely an interesting book. Being recommended to me by my Dramateacher, I thought it would be a sort of massive and exhausting book but no... It can actually be read quite easily and is just great to those who want to know more about the origins of performance.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Oliver Terrones

    Un breve recorrido por la historia de la performance desde las vanguardias (futurismo, dada y surrealismo) hasta los 80. La recopilación que hace de extractos exactos de las vanguardias ayuda mucho a seguir la línea de continuidad histórica.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nikolay Korablev

    В популярном жанре братской могилы, но, наверное, этого достаточно. Хороший указатель

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dmitry Kurkin

    Первое издание вышло в 78-м году, Голдберг тогда было чуть за тридцать, и в тот момент у нее было если не больше интереса к предмету, то уж точно больше энтузиазма. "Наши дни" - а это вообще-то 40 лет и время, когда перформанс развивался интенсивно - у нее пролетают телеграфной строкой (или, как тут ниже пишут, "в жанре братской могилы") и не без доли плохо скрытого брюзжания. И это досадно, потому что первая половина книги действительна удалась. Первое издание вышло в 78-м году, Голдберг тогда было чуть за тридцать, и в тот момент у нее было если не больше интереса к предмету, то уж точно больше энтузиазма. "Наши дни" - а это вообще-то 40 лет и время, когда перформанс развивался интенсивно - у нее пролетают телеграфной строкой (или, как тут ниже пишут, "в жанре братской могилы") и не без доли плохо скрытого брюзжания. И это досадно, потому что первая половина книги действительна удалась.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Individualfrog

    Not much more than a compendium, almost simply a list, of briefly-described works involving artists and containing some kind of performance aspect. This artist did this thing, which I will describe in one sentence, maybe a photo if you're lucky. I suppose part of the problem for me is that I came to the book with a kind of hostility towards performance art, which I find, generally speaking, horribly annoying; a "prove it" kind of feeling, but this book did nothing to prove any value to this kind Not much more than a compendium, almost simply a list, of briefly-described works involving artists and containing some kind of performance aspect. This artist did this thing, which I will describe in one sentence, maybe a photo if you're lucky. I suppose part of the problem for me is that I came to the book with a kind of hostility towards performance art, which I find, generally speaking, horribly annoying; a "prove it" kind of feeling, but this book did nothing to prove any value to this kind of art. Nor did it make any coherent definition, separating performance art from theater (which might have changed my mind that performance art is generally speaking simply very bad theater) possibly because for at least the first half of the book, the artists described would never have drawn such a distinction. It was only after the second world war that some people realized they could get away with knowing nothing about theater if they said it was "art" instead, and thereby get the critics of their choice. What I get from this rather tedious recitation of capsule descriptions of performances, sort of like the one-sentence movie 'reviews' they used to have in the television guide in the local newspaper, is only a sense of art rapidly metamorphizing, in the postwar world, from a practical to an academic concern, an intellectualizing, a disembodying, not unlike the transition in religion (which I find similarly disastrous) from practice to belief, from ritual to theology, from body to mind. Artists of the early Modernist era painted, or sculpted, or collaged, or whatever, where later artists, in typically Protestant, or perhaps gnostic, disgust at the physical world, theorized and wrote. Over and over in this book we read that such and such an artist was reacting against something--traditional conceptions of art, for example--but never any reason why; it seems to be simply assumed that Against is always the righteous position, the correct stance. Maybe if I understood the reasons, I might agree, but it's hard to imagine, because I like paintings and drawings and sculptures, pottery and tapestries and furniture, dresses and silver spoons and candelabras. I like theater, "something to see and something to hear" as John Cage said; I like dance, circus, cabaret, magic shows, rituals and ceremonies, concerts and the Olympics. I do not like ideas. I do not like theories, or academic writing. I do not like performance art. And I do not like the feeling, which this book brings to the fore, that I am an old, conservative, terrible philistine, who Doesn't Get It. I'd like to believe that, since most of these artists claimed they were against the art object, museums, posterity, that they wanted to speak only to the here and now, that I am taking them at their word by finding their work stupid and worthless to me, since their here and now was then and there; and the paintings and sculptures of their predecessors, who intended/hoped to leave them to the entire human future, are still relevant to me. But that's probably a rationalization. I don't know.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tentatively, Convenience

    There's so much amazing performance. This bk gives a great history of some of it. Other bks cd be very different. Sometimes I look at bks on subjects I'm fairly knowledgable about & think: "WHAT?! They don't even mention such-&-such?!!" This bk doesn't get that rejection. It covers Bauhaus light plays from 1922. It covers a performance of a Satie piece w/ Buckminster Fuller as one of the actors in conjunction w/ Merce Cunningham! It even gets into COUM Transmissions's 1976 Prositution show in Lo There's so much amazing performance. This bk gives a great history of some of it. Other bks cd be very different. Sometimes I look at bks on subjects I'm fairly knowledgable about & think: "WHAT?! They don't even mention such-&-such?!!" This bk doesn't get that rejection. It covers Bauhaus light plays from 1922. It covers a performance of a Satie piece w/ Buckminster Fuller as one of the actors in conjunction w/ Merce Cunningham! It even gets into COUM Transmissions's 1976 Prositution show in London. Just the fotos alone are incredibly inspiring. I almost wish I'd found this bk in Arabic on the moon. Then I cd've died & gone to Earth - maybe reincarnated as an H2O molecule in a swimming pool at Al Roon's Health Club in New York in 1965 just in time to be a participant in Claes Oldenburg's "Washes". There's even a picture of Russian Futurist David Burlyuk w/ his face painted from around 1913. So much positive energy from so many people working w/o a net & we're still perpetually at war.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    An insightful introduction to performance art and its development. This textbook is complete with high quality images of performances and provides a solid basis for anyone with a research or general interest in performance art. Having studied this text at university, however, I would strongly recommend following up Goldberg's book with the work by Dr Amy Bryzgel, who has written 2 books to date about the development of performance art in Eastern Europe which was in tandem with the Western canon. An insightful introduction to performance art and its development. This textbook is complete with high quality images of performances and provides a solid basis for anyone with a research or general interest in performance art. Having studied this text at university, however, I would strongly recommend following up Goldberg's book with the work by Dr Amy Bryzgel, who has written 2 books to date about the development of performance art in Eastern Europe which was in tandem with the Western canon.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lawrence

    https://gnomeship.blogspot.com/2019/0... https://gnomeship.blogspot.com/2019/0...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chris Lugo

    This book literally changed my life. As a performance artist I found validation and an interpretation of experience in this book that gave a new meaning to my reality as an artist. I recommend this book to anyone interested in studying and understanding the function of performance art as a discipline and practice.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    this book has truly been an inspiration. very through, and extremely readable. it really pulls together the origins of performance art among different art movements. i strongly recommend this to all artists and music performers.

  13. 5 out of 5

    J.

    A slow read. Great info on origins of performance that I never knew existed.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tomek

    Classical book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    SO COOL! Anyone interested in theatre or performance should read this history of Performance Art.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present (World of Art) by Roselee Goldberg (1988)

  17. 5 out of 5

    James

    My bible.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This was the text for one of my courses in school. I refer to it often. I don't know, it is just awesome when a "textbook" can be a source of inspiration. This was the text for one of my courses in school. I refer to it often. I don't know, it is just awesome when a "textbook" can be a source of inspiration.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Eduardo

    Uma outra visão do Sec. XX.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sílvio

  21. 5 out of 5

    Leni D.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Megan

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sonia

  24. 5 out of 5

    El

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jewel Rob

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alyse

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dillon Ashcroft

  28. 5 out of 5

    Max

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bret

  30. 5 out of 5

    Betty Julian

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