Tuesday, April 26, 2016



Thursday, April 21, 2016


I changed my mind about this performance until the moment that I started- which seems to be a trend for me. I was struggling with the idea of being naked in front of everyone in class completely sober... but knew that I wanted to do it because it would be therapeutic for me (more on this in a bit).

I had played with the idea of glueing googley eyes to my body hair, mostly thinking about the video that would follow the live performance, but decided to do this instead. I was happy that I chose to set up in front of the window, because I think that it provided the best light for the tone I was trying to create, and reflected off of the glitter well. I wish I would have had some kind of gooey substance to rub myself down with first so that the glitter would have stayed on better- I realized this during the performance and was annoyed with myself for not paying attention to detail. 

I had also thought about the idea of going through my morning routine from high school in front of the mirrors- stepping on and off of a scale in eight different outfits, spinning and squishing and taking pictures of every little imperfection for hours before school. 

I had a pretty severe eating disorder during those days. I won't mention numbers because I don't want to trigger anyone, but it was severe. I had also thought about using paint or the red glitter as a hint to the self harm that happened during those days... I don't know if I want to continue to create art about this though.

I liked that people interpreted the performance as self love. I like that interpretation much better than what I had intended to convey. I think I will change a lot of things for the video performance- it may end up being completely different. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


In performance art, the artist’s medium is the body, and the live actions he or she performs are the work of art. The term, used loosely at first, arose in the early 1960s as American practitioners sought a way to refer to and describe the many live events taking place at that time. Performance art usually consists of four elements: time, space, the performer’s body, and a relationship between audience and performer. Traditionally, the work is interdisciplinary, employing some other kind of visual art, video, sound, or props. Although performance art takes the form of live action, it has reached a large public audience through documentation of the performance.

RoseLee Goldberg wrote the first history of performance art, published in 1979. Owen Smith’s Chapter One of Fluxus: The History of an Attitude.

   In your response to RoseLee Goldberg’s text (primarily chapters 1, 3 and 6 and the forward) & Owen Smith’s essay —- how can you connect the dots so-to-speak from Futurism to Dada to Fluxus —artists using their bodies to create work?
o   All of these groups were once considered to be avant garde, leading in creating new kinds of art and ways to create or present it. Futurism provided the basis of forward thinking ideas about what could be considered art. Traditional forms of art such as painting began taking on these ideas, as they depicted movement and speed in many of their works, finally deciding that it had to be taken into a different dimension in order to convey their message:
o   “The gesture for us will no longer be a fixed moment of universal dynamism: it will be decisively the dynamic sensation made eternal” pg. 14 RoseLee Goldberg
o   Questions about what made something “art”, the legitimacy / value of “art” and the divide between normal people and artists arose, leading to the conclusion that it was mostly about amplified aesthetic & artistic autonomy. These groups sought to alter the barriers between artists and the rest of the world, that which was traditionally considered art and that which was considered ordinary. These considerations led to the kind of avant garde thinking within Futurism, Dada and Fluxus – which gave a means of transmission for these ideas through the body, in performance.

   What unites these artists during the 20th century? What were their goals? The goals may vary among the art movements but what were the main goals of artists using their bodies to make art? WHY did use their bodies?
o   Their goal was to liberate themselves from rational conventions and established social norms to become as active, aggressive, and dynamic as possible- the best way to do this was through the use of their own bodies, in performance. The separation between the viewer and the artist was taken away, and ideas were more easily transmitted.

   Was performance art a medium like any other medium for art? Why or Why not?
o   It allowed for a collaboration of many media and art disciplines, making it incredibly innovative at the time of its birth.
o   “The artwork that interested [Al Hansen] most, he said, was one that ‘enclosed the observer [and] that overlapped and interpenetrated different art forms” pg. 128 RoseLee Goldberg.
o   It’s impossible to convey the things performance can convey through more traditional methods with the same effect.
o   There is a separation with other art forms- there is no separation in live performance, shared experience.
o   Could be used to convey and confront cultural issues and be engaged with them in a dynamic manner.

·      What is “Conceptual Art”?
o   The idea presented by the artist is more important than the finished product

    Late Modernism and its primary critic Clement Greenburg, believed that Art was and should be completely autonomous (independent) from it social context of production. Greenberg emphasized that Art was about the medium and the artist’s role was as a visionary (read: genius)…and “art for art’s sake” - not for the public’s sake — Art should remain separate from life and the everyday — Would you say Conceptual art was a reaction to Late Modernism? Why do you think artists rebelled?
o   It is difficult to separate art from life when there is such a fine line there- is art life? Is life art? If art is meant to exist solely for its own purposes, why share it with the public? Especially with performance, the audience is a crucial part of the art- shared experience is integral. They rebelled because the power of art was in its ability to alter the practices of life itself. The idea of having art for art’s sake was pandering to the bourgeois idea of art and culture- they wanted to take it back.

   In 1970, the American artist John Baldessari cremated every painting he had made between 1953 and 1966, and promised not to make any more boring art. PLEASE WATCH:

   Why do you think it took so long for someone to historicize the “avant of the avant garde”? Why has performance art largely been left out? As we noted this week after watching the Guggenheim’s brief video about their 100th anniversary show of Futurism - the exhibition concentrated only on objects, paintings and sculptures.
o   Once again, bourgeois ideas of art and culture permeated how we thought about and valued performance art. It was not a high art until someone with money said it was. You cannot buy a performance and hang it in your living room, as with a painting or sculpture. There is no value for those who wish to invest in this kind of art. It is not an art that is for them, so they aren’t interested.

   Discuss at least one Futurist performance and one Dadaist performance. How would you describe these performances to your friends who know nothing about these movements?
o   Dada performances were nonsensical, staying true to their “primitive” name. They would often read poems with words that focused on the sound of the word rather than the words themselves- while in large, odd costumes. Nothing could be rationalized.
o   Futurist performances were not as prominent in the movement, as they usually just had manifestos outlining the ideas of the movement. The performances that did occur had the same sense of nonsense of dada, but took inspiration from the movement and speed they tried to depict in paintings. Lots of focus on sound- used huge machines and things to produce what seemed to be random sounds and noises, then labeled art.

   In the US — Living Art begins to emerge in the 1930s - why? (chapter 6)
   What is a Happening? Why is PROCESS more important than a final product or object?
o   Josef Albers said that “art is concerned with the HOW and not the WHAT; not with literal content, but with the performance of the factual content. The performance-how it is done- that is the content of art”
o   The notion of chance was important- allowing for intentional and non intentional actions in the work.
o   Al Hansen turned to performance in revolt against the complete absensce of anything interesting in the more conventional forms of theater.

   What are “chance operations”? Why was it important for Cage to include “chance and change” as part of the artistic process?
o   Unintended actions
o   Turning away from intentionality is a bold move against the art that had been created previously – he was interested in zen Buddhism and thought a lot about psychology, especially of seeing humanity and what that means in nature.
o   Goal is to create new awareness of actuality and celebrate these awarenesses-life is significant, life is art-art is life.

   Why is John Cage a primary influence as well as Marcel Duchamp? What does Duchamp mean by “retinal art”?
o   Retinal art is the use of selected & sometimes altered ready mades, as art. Both Duchamp and John Cage used forms of art that made art more accessible to a larger group of people.

Jackson Pollack made drip paintings using his body to drip and throw paint onto a canvas lying on the floor in the 1940s. Japanese artists and specifically the Gutai Group (p. 132) These radical artists wanted to break through boundaries - cultural, social and through the conventions of art. The Gutai Group was founded in 1954.
(throw away your paint brushes!!!)

   Yves Klein, Carolee Schneemann and Piero Manzoni all made work using bodies:
how were the works Goldberg describes on pages 144-149 — similar and different?
o   They thought about bodies in similar but different ways- for Klein, the body was the brush, but for others the body was the art itself.

       Who is Joseph Beuys? Where do his ideas about making art come from? Why do you think he made “Coyote: I Like America and America Likes Me?”
o   German artist that believed that art should effectively transform people’s everyday lives. Wanted to change consciousness & revoluntionize human thought.
o   Action & time are elements to be controlled & directed by human will

These readings are very important for understanding key concepts involving body art. In the artist presentations that are up-coming - INCLUDE these concepts you have read about. John Cage, Duchamp and the Dadaists were extremely influential in performance art. Without them — the work we are looking at may never have been made.

Monday, April 18, 2016


The score: a few rearrangements due to logistics & trying to make things work and flow well- even though they totally didn't.

I enjoyed this performance. Choosing a performance from the workbook was difficult because there were so many good ones, but I had to keep reminding myself to focus on sound. I felt that this was fitting because of all of the opportunities for various sounds- opening the bottle, drinking, gargling, pouring, smashing the bottle etc.

We decided to do this outside for safety reasons, but really liked how the tunnel enhanced the sounds we wanted to focus on. We stood on the table to add dimension and a better noise as we poured into a bucket farther down.

Right away something went "wrong"- the cork was cheap (the wine cost three dollars) and broke as Madison tried to open it. I liked this though, and felt that it added to the overall tone of the performance, reminiscent of the whimsy, nonsense and unpredictability of Dada and Fluxus. The sound was also great- the cork rubbing against the side of the bottle with each twist and pull and the eventual pop.

MC and others pointed out that it felt ritualistic- which I definitely understood more after watching the performance again. I wish we would have slowed down the pace of the performance to allow for focus on each of the sounds longer- drawing certain ones out, like the gargle and pour, and contrasting with the fast pop of the cork or the smash of the bottle and glass. We hadn't practiced or discussed who would lead or how long to do each thing, so we both had difficulty with pacing.

If we performed this again- I would like to have many bottles and even crackers or something to add to the visual element as well as the audio. Crunching and eating delicately as we sip then smashing later on. We would both wear white, allowing for more visual depth as we splash or drip the dark wine on ourselves. We had also briefly mentioned the idea of sipping the wine, gargling, kissing and allowing the wine to drip down our faces and necks onto our clothing- then smashing the bottle & glass and walking away. These things could all be changed according to our intentions-- I'm thinking about this.

I really like the idea of residue from the performance staying on something tangible though. For this performance, it is now on the score and the ground for a short amount of time- and in the noses of the audience members for a moment. I liked what Zara said about it being something so sweet after getting more hardcore vibes from my outfit & our boots, the violence of it all. I'll play around with this in the coming weeks.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


I changed my ideas for this performance at least fifty times, but decided to go back to my original plan: to brush my teeth with clay. I had thought about it for a while, but reading "I Am for an Art" by Claes Oldenburg solidified the idea in my mind, especially the lines:

"I am for an art that is combed down, that is hung from each ear, that is laid on the lips and under the eyes, that is shaved from the legs, that is brushed on the teeth, that is fixed on the thighs, that is slipped on the foot."

I knew that I wanted it to be an intimate experience*, both for me and the audience. I feel that the mirror introduced this, as well as the lighting, amplified sound and use of many readers interspersed throughout the audience. I wanted it to feel somewhat enveloping and overwhelming, much like the relationship it refers to. I wanted them to truly feel what I had felt- creating discomfort though my actions and sound.

Having changed my mind about what I wanted to do an hour before class, I allowed for a great deal of improvisation. I didn't practice at all, and gave the readers vague instructions, trusting their judgement.

Part of this improvisation was that I began putting the same clay and water I had in my mouth before back in again and again. Someone brought this up in our discussion afterwards and I didn't realize that it had added to the feeling of guilt and submission to the treatment.

I'm happy with how this performance went, and want to continue to use this intensity/vulnerability in my future performances. Being vulnerable is scary, but I like it.

*When I decided to use messages from my ex I didn't think about telling people about it outside of class- I had planned to keep it private, between us. I'm still working through this.