Posted inArt

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.

Posted inOpinion

Rosa Parks as Performance Artist?

Rob Maguire, who is the founder and editor of Art Threat, a Canadian blog devoted to exploring political art and showcasing artists whose work inspires social change, hurled out this nugget during a recent online “water cooler” hosted by The National Post newspaper about art and ethics:

… artists may break the law to draw attention to such injustice and oppression. Sure, it’ll make some people uncomfortable, especially those people in power whose authority is being challenged, as well as those unfairly privileged by the current set of rules. But artists play an important role in pushing society forward, and progress can be messy. Pardon the crude analogy, but if Rosa Parks were a performance artist, would she not still be a hero?

Read the whole post here.

Posted inArt

Punch Me Panda by Nate Hill Starts Today

Starting today, artist Nate Hill will be performing his newest piece, “Punch Me Panda” (2010) at #TheSocialGraph. If you are in Brooklyn, you can text (347-742-2293) or tweet Hill (@natexhill) to come to your home, where you can punch him for one penny. This is the first-time the artist has performed in the context of a gallery show and a rare opportunity to see “Punch Me Panda” in his natural habitat.

Posted inOpinion

Chinese Artist Bleeds For Democracy [NSFW]

Chinese blogger Mélanie Wang has a report — with graphic photos — of an October 10th performance by artist He Yunchang (Ah Chang) where he executed his new work “One Meter Democracy” at Cao Chang Di in Beijing.

Wang describes the performance and its premise: “At the beginning, he presented his proposal … he would cut a wound on the right side of his body all the way from the clavicle down to below his knee; a wound one-meter long and 0.5-1cm deep. The whole process would be executed under the assistance of a medical doctor, yet without anesthesia.”

Posted inArt

Mr. Dropout Is Serious

Nate Hill is at a crossroads. After a series of performances steeped in childhood imagery, he’s ready for something new. For an artist his age it’s amazing that he’s already become the subject of posts on Gawker, Time Out NY and other mainstream blogs, an article filled with anger in the Daily News, and never mind the general snarkiness of online citizens (he accused me of being one of those). Yet, Hill feels that Mr. Dropout, his new performance, is about turning a page. Starting a few weeks ago, Hill has been walking the length of Manhattan via Broadway wearing all white, including a gauze veil tucked into a white balaclava.

Posted inPerformance

Art of Video Games: “Theater of the Arcade: 5 Classic Video Games Adapted for the Stage”

Video games appear to be making oddly pervasive cameos across fields as varied as architecture, art, cinema, criticism, and now theater. Theater of the Arcade: Five Classic Video Games Adapted for the Stage is exactly that, a series of five plays that Jeff Lewonczyk wrote and Gyda Arber directed at the Brick Theater in Williamsburg through July 25.

The premise of Theater of the Arcade is to take the characters from an iconic video game — let’s say “Frogger” — and insert those characters into a world that operates according to the logic and stage vernacular of an equally iconic 20th century dramatist — let’s say Samuel Beckett à la Godot …