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.
Performance artist Man Bartlett is tired, has blood shot eyes and he’s doing something very American, shopping. His mission is to spend 24 hours in Union Square’s Best Buy megastore without buying anything. His biggest obstacles are sleep, security and the urge to buy shit. Will he make it?