This past weekend, Nick and I attended the annual “Summer Party” hosted at the Museum of Fine Arts. The theme was “Solid Gold” and it was one of the best years yet!
One of the unique things at this years party was the addition of two performance art pieces- right in the middle of the action. They certainly were interesting conversation starters!
The first was of a man holding a block of red wax, opposite a very strong lamp. As the night went on, the wax slowly melted. He didn’t say anything, he barely moved, just stood there holding this heavy block which was making a perfect mess of his suit and shoes.
While the first piece was in a side gallery, the second was right in the middle of the party- literally next to the buffet. The piece was of a man, in a gold lame bikini bottom who walked back and forth on a piece of astro turf, covering his body with lard and then sprinkling gold glitter all over his body with different shakers. Ever so often, he would pull out a gold cowbell and ring it. Can’t seem to picture this? Good thing I brought my camera!
I quickly realized from watching these, that I really have NO knowledge of what Performance Art is/ what makes a good piece- I mean, there is a fine line separating these artists from crazy people….. but what a perfect excuse to research a new blog post!
The defining aspect of performance art is that the artist is a PART of the art- not performing (like theatre) or creating (like painting)- in performance art the art and artist are one and the same. The work incorporates four basic elements: time, space, the performer’s body, or presence in a medium, and a relationship between performer and audience. The rise of performance art was approximately the 1960s- around the time of the fall of Abstract Expressionism and the rise of Futurism and the Avant Garde movements. Yoko Ono is a well known Performance Artist, in her “Cut Piece” she invited the audience to attack her clothing with scissors. Other famous performance artists include Blue Man Group and Lady Gaga.
You may have heard recently of Clint Eastwood’s daughter who lit a $100,000 Birkin bag on fire. Or the artist who starved a dog in the middle of an art gallery. These are both examples of performance art. While they are both crazy, unthinkable (and probably inhumane) they created strong emotions for all viewers.
So what do you think? Do you feel inspired by these artists? Or are you more in the camp of Freddy Prince Jr, ala “She’s All That”- believing that anyone can do this? Still making up your mind? These are a few great sources where I found a lot of information: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4