Performance, Conceptual, Body Art Pracitioners

Mierles Laderman Ukeles – made her daily life into art/created art from her daily life.
She started to clean public places, stairs, streets.

“People were afraid to access the area she was cleaning”
“She kept wiping right behind people’s heels, so their tracks lasted only for a second,”
TEDx “What are animals feeling and thinking” Carl Safina – “A baby dolphin imitated smoke with milk after seeing a human creature smoking, which is simply representing something – which we call art”
Blurring of boundaries, interdisciplinary sampling and experimantation – 60s (and 70s) and 50s as well
People and artists of the time
1. Visual art – happenings – Allan Kaprow: “Don’t think and you’ll make a happening out of this”
  • Artist, creator
  • Changed the definition of art as an object into anything at all including movement, sound or scent.
  • His works were more connected with art than theatre.
  • He based on Shifting concepts of space as subjectively experienced by the viewer.
  • The viewer becomes part of the piece
  • Based on NY and California

2. Conceptual art, land art – Robert Smithson: The world of art

  • Died already at the age of 35
  • Performance artist
  • Post-minimalism – abandoning traditional sculpture
  • Worked on minerals and geology connecting scientific aspects with society and art

3.Theatre – Julian Beck

  • American actor, director, poet and painter
  • Co-founding and directing The Living Theatre
  • Based in NY
  • Primary influence – Antoin Artaud and his Theatre of Cruelty
  • Idea to shock audience
  • He has said “We insisted on experimentation that was an image for a changing society. If one can experiment in theatre, one can experiment in life.”
  • Anarchist
 Judith Malina:
  • Activist and provocateour advancing the idea of political theater in America
  • Malina was tireless and passionate in advancing the idea that theatre can be and should be a blunt force for cultural change
  • Anarchists and pacifists with Julian Beck
  • Productions were statements as much as performances.
  • Involving audition and lose the 4th wall
  • Mounting radical fervor and an application of techniques that tended to sublimate artistic craft in favor of political passionand to blur the distinction between performance and real life.
  • The most rebellious performance “Paradise now”
Music & sound – John Cage
  • American composer, music theorist, writer and an artist.
  • Ideterminacy in music, electroacoustic musid and non-standard use of musical instruments.
  • One of the leading figures of post-war avant-garde.
  • Cooperated with choreographer Merce Cunnungham, Cage’s romantic partner, developong modern dance.
  • Influed bu East and South Asian cultures
  • Teachers – Henry Cowell and Arnold Schoenberg
  • Studying Indian philosophy and Zen Buddhism he came to an idea of aleatoric or chance-contolled music.
Dance – Pina Bauch: “Cafe Müller”
  • German performer and developer of modern dance
  • Moved to NY
  • “It is almost unimportant wether a work finds an understanding audience. One has to do it because one believes that it is the right thing to do. We are not only here to please, we cannot help challenging the spectator.”
  • A piece with dancers walking round the room full of chairs and tables with their eyes closed and bumping into them
Hans-Thies Lehmann:
  • “positive analytical categories  ( Jürs-Munby in Lehmann, 2006:1)
  • Postdramatic theatre – avant-garde theatre
  • What Lehmann calls postdramatic is not primarily focused on drama itself but performance aestethic in which the text of the performance is out in a special relation to the material situation of the performance and the stage
  • Postdramatic thetre is more striving to produce an effect amongst the spectators than to remain true to the text
  • In its most radical varieties postdramaic theatre knows no “plot” at all, but concentrates fully on the interaction between performer and audience
Vito Hannibal Acconci – NY poet
    • Designer, lanscape architect, performance and installation artist.
    • Began career as a poet
    • Started use his own body as a subject of photography, film, video and performance
    • Incorporated subversive social comment
    • “Seedbed” – masturbating while vocalizing into loudspeaker his fantasies about the visitors walking above him on the ramp – creating a situation of reciprocal interchange between artist and viewer
    • Other interesting installations

Marina Abramovic –

  • “Art has to have many layers of meaning”
  • Serbia-born America based artist
  • Explores the relationship between performer and audience
  • The limits and possibilities of the body and mind
  • “Grandmother of performance art”
  • Artist has to be present or averall being present in life
  • Marina Abramovic’s Institute for doing nothing
  • Experimentation with objects of pleasure and pain
  • “Art has to be beautiful artist has to be beautiful”
  • “Lovers” as walk on China wall and breaking up with Ulay
  • and so many other works
Yoko Ono


  • Japanese multimedia artist, singer and peace activist
  • Performance art, music and filmmaking
  • Brought feminism to the forefront in her music
  • “Cut piece”

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