Special Topics: Performance and Body Art
270 Tappan
W 1:00-4:00pm
3 Credit Seminar

This seminar examines the emergence of the body as a medium in contemporary art. Beginning with the radical diversification of art practice in the 1960s and 1970s (at the hands of Kaprow, Ono, Rainer, Beuys, Schneeman, Export, Acconci, Abramovic, Piper, Mendieta, and others), our task is to trace and assess the possibilities and problems that the shifting category of 'live art by artists' has presented to art practice and art history. Whether confrontational or participatory, performance-based artworks interrogate and reshape art's relationship to its audience. They raise questions about the specific bodies that make up performance situations, both performing and viewing, and they insist on the centrality of gender, sexuality, and cultural difference to our understanding of art in the present. They place high value on ephemeral events, often in opposition to the commodification of art and the institutions that support it-yet their relationship to time and repetition is complex, and we find ourselves, at present, amidst a remarkable wave of retrospective exhibitions and reenactments. The course provides an introduction to this challenging category of art-making and an overview of theoretical approaches to its history. Small practical assignments and required performance viewing in addition to short analytical papers. Estimated cost of materials: $50 or more, but less than $100. D. 4