Performance Art – Advent and Beyond

Performance art, with its current ramifications, came into existence in the 1960s with the work of artists such as Yoko Ono, Yves Klein, Hermann Nitsch, Allan KaprowCarolee Schneemann, Barbara T. Smith, Joseph Beuys, Vito Acconci, Wolf Vostell, Chris Burden, the women associated with the Feminist Studio Workshop and the Woman’s Building in Los Angeles. But performance art was definitely envisaged first by Japan’s Gutai group of the 1950s. The path breaking work in this trend was Atsuko Tanaka’s “Electric Dress” in 1956.

In United Kingdom Gilbert and George duo performed their first “living sculpture” recitals by painting themselves gold and singing “Underneath the Arches” in 1970. Combining video with other media, Jud Yalkut, Carolee Schneemann and Sandra Binion, began experiments. Guerrilla theater, or street theater, especially by students popped up as mass statement for antiwar movements. Among the other influential works, especially in United States were the anarchist antiwar group the Yippies, conglomerated fractionally by Abbie Hoffmann, Latino, Latin-American, and other street theater groups, including those like the San Francisco Mime Troupe, that stem from circus and traveling theater traditions. Also influence of U.S. conceptual artist Sol Lewitt was great as he transformed mural-style drawing into an act of recital by others in the early 1960s.

By the 1970s, it imparted overwhelmingly in the avant-garde of East Bloc countries, especially Yugoslavia and Poland, perhaps, because of its relative transience. The critiques from western cultural theorists’ school often trace activity of performing back to the onset of the 20th century. Dada as well as the Russian Futurist endowed with a significant precursory role with the unconventional performances of poetry. David Burliuk painted his face for his actions. This works can be taken into account as pioneering examples. However public performances by the artists of Renaissance could be the ancestor from ancient times of this modern phenomenon. Some critique even attributes the root of this form into traditions and histories, ranging from tribal to sporting and ritual or religious events. It has not been confined to the European or American traditions; many distinguished practitioners can also be spotted in Asia and Latin America.

By Laura