CHICAGO — In a darkened gallery in the Art Institute of Chicago, a grainy video from decades ago begins. Standing with her face pressed up against a white wall, a woman reaches down and scoops up a handful of red, viscous liquid — presumably blood — from an enamel tray, and in a series of arcing gestures she traces a crude outline of a doorway, or a cave entrance, or maybe just the close demarcation of her own small body, around herself onto the wall.
WTF is… Performance Art?
You may have heard that James Franco and Lady Gaga are performance artists, that their careers themselves are art objects built up over a lifetime. You may also believe that your Uncle Bob farting the alphabet is performance art. And maybe it is! Really, it’s up to you, there’s no quick and easy chart to tell what is performance art and what isn’t. Nevertheless, there are a few guidelines to follow when defining performance, in the context of the medium’s history as well as its current practice. Despite what you’ve heard, there are good reasons that getting carried into the Grammys in an egg isn’t really an act of performance art.
How Do You Show Performance Art? Ana Mendieta vs Marina Abramović
We’re approaching a pivotal point in the progress of performance art in which the once rogue medium is becoming canonized, institutionalized and historicized. If the epic Marina Abramović retrospective at MoMA, The Artist is Present, wasn’t enough to convince you that the early group of performance artists are becoming anointed saints, the recent retrospective at Galerie Lelong of the late Ana Mendieta is another step forward. Yet the two exhibitions present parallel methods of exhibiting historical performance art, the first focused on recreating performances, the second on exhibiting artifacts. I see the latter Mendieta exhibition, Documentation and Artwork, 1972 – 1985, as the far more succesful.
Which Installation Artists Are Actually Green?
Inspired by the closing of Ai Weiwei’s “Sunflower Seeds” installation due to health hazards, I’ve been writing about how environmental impact is factored in to the evaluation of installation art. Does a work of art have to have a low carbon footprint to be great, or should we completely separate a piece from the cost of its production?
To start off the debate, I want to explore a few works of installation art that could be considered environmentally friendly and evaluate what impact they have, both environmental and artistic.