Art movements possess varying definitions that are given by art critics, historians and even artists. They emerge from Classical period and then followed by escapes or transitions from the traditions or a mixture of two movements that eventually give birth to another movement of a period. Contemporary art which is personally defined as “art of the present,” encompasses a number of artistic movements; one of which is performance art, a contemporary art movement that focuses on the acts of the artists who utilize their body to demonstrate a certain work or piece of art.
Art pieces that are created during the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries belong in the realm of contemporary art. These are the objects of outgrowth and rejection of modern art. When abstract expressionism’s power and drive shrinks, nouveau art movements and styles arise during 1960s and 1970s to summon and to displace the modernism in visual arts and other media (Contemporary Art, 2008). The definition of the term “contemporary art” varies from art critics to art historians because confusion lies amid the two concepts: “modern” and “contemporary,” due to the reason that contemporary art follows modern art.
Therefore, no one seems to agree with regards to the exact meaning of the term because there has been no particular agreement on when “modern art” has ended (What is Contemporary Art? 2008). However, other descriptions regard it as a term that generally refers to the art crafted on the second half of the twentieth century (Harry Carlton School, 2009). On the other hand, three simple definitions cover the concept “contemporary art. ” And these include the following characterization: First, contemporary art is the art created after 1945.
It is the meaning that is adhered by most museums; on the contrary, historians affirm it as outdated. Second, contemporary art is art produced in our era or lifetimes. It is the definition used by general art historians; however, it is too vague for the functions and purposes. Third, contemporary art is art produced since the 1960s. It is the description that is commonly utilized by art historians and critics but disagreement materializes as to the accurate cut-off date (What is Contemporary Art? 2008). Contemporary art is comprised by a myriad of schools, styles and movements that come to the front during the mid-1960s until present.
These are conceptualism, performance, installation, video art, minimalism, photo-realism, earthworks, supports-surfaces, contemporary realism, new subjectivity, London School, graffiti art, transavanguardia, neo-expressionism, Britart: young British artists, neo-pop, stuckism and new Leipzig School (What is Contemporary Art? 2008). Performance Art The concept “performance art” has commenced in the year 1960s in the United States. It is originally utilized to define and describe any live artistic incident that includes poets, musicians, artists and filmmakers.
It is also referred as “Happenings,” “Events,” and “Fluxus concerts” (Esaak, 2009). The history of Performance art can be traced back to the Futurists and Dadaists who often promote their arts during the year 1910 with hilarious and shocking events. However, it is during the year 1950s when a French artist known as Yves Klein includes dragging naked women with whom he spreads and smears with paint across canvas on the floor of an art gallery. It is an accompaniment to one of his minimalist musical compositions. It is not until 1960s when performance art is acknowledged and recognized as a branch or art.
Nevertheless, the term “performance art” is first used in 1970 (Performance Art, 2009). Performance art is a form of art that is concerned and focused with direct audience communication by the artists that can last from a few minutes to several days. There are cases when it is considered as a form of getting out to the institutional dominance of commercial galleries and aesthetic priorities of Modernism (Pookie and Newall, 2007, p. 225). It is the category when artists break away with utilizing only one traditional medium.
Performance artists, most of the time, are exploring and seeking several artistic disciplines and creating works of art that may traverse traditional media borders such as works that comprise the aspects of theater, music and visual arts. There are also artists who are enthused in incorporating in their performance activities of everyday life and presenting it in an artistic manner (Byrd, 1998). Women in Performance Art During the advent of Performance Art, women have found their place and fame in the art world. Some of the women through the period have been known in the said branch of art.
Among them are Laurie Anderson, Meredith Monk and Linda Montano. Laurie Anderson is probably the most renowned performance artist. It is in 1970 when she emerges. Her works explore and illustrate the relationship between people and technology. Her masterpieces are usually comprised of spoken text, music, projected slides and videos. She has been known for employing an array of synthesizers to create sonic soundscape and a vocoder to change the sound of her voice when telling stories of her life in the late 20th century wherein laptops and ghosts exist side by side (Byrd, 1998).
On the other hand, Meredith Monk is another artist who crafts interdisciplinary theater pieces. She is a composer who deals with inventive and pioneering vocal techniques. Her works are mixtures of free elements and images that are not related to one another. However, it is the combination of those unrelated elements that make her works unique (Byrd, 1998). Linda Montano, on the contrary, is the artist who explores the nexus between art and life. Rituals for her can change one’s perception of life.
During those times of her artistic development, she manages to perform life ceremonies that transpire for several years. One of her renowned work is the one in which she spends an entire year tied to another artist known as Teching Hsieh. They have been united and joined by a seven-foot length rope. They did not touch each other for the whole year (Byrd, 1998). Those are just a number of performance arts that have been executed by female artists. There are other performances and pieces that make use of their bodies as a medium on demonstrating a work of art.
They reveal issues such as feminism and role of women in society. Performance arts are often open-ended and can happen anywhere. They are usually presented in a live audience and only performed once. Its theme is usually in accordance to the artist’s viewpoints with regards to the link and relationship between art and life, art and technology, people and art or anything that the artist desires to illustrate. Performance art has given way to the feminist agenda during the year 1970s. It is an individual, instantaneous and greatly effective means of communication.
Women’s objective when executing and performing a piece is to create an alternative vision for women and their power and status in the world (Gaulke, n. d. ). Their pieces tend to problematize female subjectivity, evaluate personal history, and alter the position of women in society because women are usually excluded from the art world. Women artists, thus, work on different media; performance art and video art are most likely appealing because the new media has no past accounts on eliminating and rejecting women (qtd. Troy, n. d. ).
Feminist performance art in the year 1970s encompasses diverse functions and purposes. Women artists never endeavor and attempt to craft a single philosophical system in their works (Gaulke, n. d. ). Their works of art are usually a mixture of different philosophies with regards to the upliftment of women’s status and role in the society, as well as its identity and belongingness in the art world. The Performance art is also an essential movement during those eras because it summons the Formalism movement (Troy, n. d. ), where artworks are confined to canvases, paints and plasters.
Performance art serves an exploration to the faction between art and life. Artists have made ways to explore and discover the dynamics between artist and spectators in order to comprehend art as social and experiential (Troy, n. d. ). Analysis and Conclusion Performance art belongs in the realm of contemporary art because of three essential reasons. First, it gives birth to a new media in creating works of art. One of those media is the body by which artists, especially women, utilize in order to demonstrate a blend of philosophies on the role of women in society.
Another media is the use of technology and the incorporation other traditional media such as paints and canvas while performing and executing a piece. Second, performance art bestows an opportunity for women to articulate and fight for their rights. That a woman needs not be oppressed in society. While men are superior in the traditional arts and Modernism, women have grabbed the opportunity to find ways on how to express themselves and how to struggle for their status in society. Their creations offer new perspectives on how to look at women and how to value them.
They reveal and delineate their struggles and efforts in the form of performance art so that their voice, angst and activism will be heard. Third, performance art provides a space for the women to be recognized in the art world. Because women are oppressed, their talents, skills and abilities are not acknowledged. However, because of the advent of performance art, women have found ways on how to present their endowments. Performance art is not just confined to well-known female artists.
There are also a number of men who execute pieces of art in order to present and to articulate their point of views in life. Performance art has given chances to ordinary people who desire to expose their artistic inclinations. Those art pieces that have been showed have helped and aided them in their artistic developments. A myriad of artists especially poets, musicians and theater artists explore, try and manage to achieve a performance art. They may be controversial, shocking, hilarious, still, for them, it is a way of communicating with the audience with regards to their outlook in life and art.
Cite this Contemporary Art Movement Discussion
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