Saturday, August 22, 2015

Janine Antoni, Artist, Born 1964, Bahamas

In Loving Care, 1992

Yoko One, Artist, Japan, b. 1933

Cut Piece, 1965
Watch Video below

If video not visible, click on link below. 
Can also search on YouTube, "Yoko Ono Cut Piece"

Sachiko Abe, Artist

Japanese artist Sachiko Abe sits atop a building in a white gown, cutting countless sheets of A4 paper into thin, wispy strips. The performance piece known as Cut Paper is both calming and mystifying. Abe sits for hours on end meticulously shredding paper whose cut feathery strands measure a mere 0.5mm in width. She first began this practice while in a mental institution over 15 years ago because it proved to be a calming activity—an alternative form of meditation.
The performance artist's serene depiction has a strong element of surrealism that makes the spectator feel like they've entered into an alternate universe. There is a pillar of fine-cut paper that looks like a fuzzy icicle and makes it seem like we're all walking on the ceiling. From this tower, there is a trail leading to the artist, cutting away at her paper. Adding to the dreamlike effect of the live show, Abe's scissors are connected to speakers that amplify the cutting sound as you draw closer to the artist.
The piece is reminiscent of Yoko Ono's performance art entitled Cut Piece in which she invites spectators to cut pieces of her clothing off of her, though Abe's art is less physically interactive with the audience.
Above images and tex from My Modern Met.

Happenings, Body Sculpture, Assignment Guidelines

This assignment is rooted in the history of art movements that include Happenings, Performance and Installation.

  • The sculpture has to be worn by a person. 
  • That person does not have to be you. 
  • The sculpture and the body will essentially combine to form one form. 
  • Something has to happen. Such as:
    • Marks on a surface
    • Sound(s)
    • Light
    • Open/Close
    • Folds/Unfolds
    • The sculpture, or part of it, moves in the wind. 
    • A pulley system is incorporated for movement. 
    • Choose one from above. If you have other ideas, see me so we can discuss. 

A basic group of materials will be used for this assignment. Depending on your idea, you will have to incorporate other materials specific to the "happening" you choose.

Use one or more of the following:
  • Cardboard
  • Wood
  • Paper
  • Fabric
  • Tape
  • Wire (will need wire cutters)
  • Rope, thread
  • Paint, pens, pencils

Visual Inspiration:
  • I keep a board on Pinterest that can offer inspiration. The title of the board is "Sculpture Human Body Required". You can link to it here
  • I have visual examples of artist's work specific to this challenge here on the blog. Look to the right, link the category  "Happenings Visual Examples".
  • I have visual examples of student work and artists who use the body in sculpture. You can also find here on this blog. Look to the right, there are several category links that being with "Happenings Student Work".  

Steps to follow:
  • Step 1 - Begin brainstorming. Select the work of three different artists. These artists should be selected from the examples I have here on the blog or from my Pinterest page (see above for both sources). Print out the three examples (does not have to be color printed). Or you can show me on your laptop. I will announce the date in class when you are to bring in these  images. 
  • Step 2 - Prepare three different ideas in the form of sketches. The sketches should act as diagrams so that I can understand your idea without you explaining it. Label the materials you will be using and the "happening" that you are striving for.  See a list of "happenings" above under "Guidelines". You will be bringing the sketches to class on the same day as the images of  three different artists. 
  • In class we will continue brainstorming and developing  your idea. Further due dates will be announced in class. 

What to put on your blog:
  1. In process photos.
  2. At least three (3) professional images of final solution and professional video that documents the happening. 
  3. Artist statement. 
  4. Optional - any sketches or drawings. 
  5. Written personal response to Yoko Ono's Cut Piece. You can view the video here on the blog. Look in the right hand column for "Yoko Ono". 

Happenings (source is The Art Story)


What began as a challenge to the category of "art" initiated by the Futurists and Dadaists in the 1910s and 1920s came to fruition with the performance art movements, one branch of which was referred to as Happenings. Happenings involved more than the detached observation of the viewer; the artist engaged with Happenings required the viewer to actively participate in each piece. There was not a definite or consistent style for Happenings, as they greatly varied in size and intricacy. However, all artists staging Happenings operated with the fundamental belief that art could be brought into the realm of everyday life. This turn toward performance was a reaction against the long-standing dominance of the technical aesthetics of Abstract Expressionism and was a new art form that grew out of the social changes occurring in the 1950s and 1960s.

Key Ideas

A main component of Happenings was the involvement of the viewer. Each instance a Happening occurred the viewer was used to add in an element of chance so, every time a piece was performed or exhibited it would never be the same as the previous time. Unlike preceding works of art which were, by definition, static, Happenings could evolve and provide a unique encounter for each individual who partook in the experience.
The concept of the ephemeral was important to Happenings, as the performance was a temporary experience, and, as such could not be exhibited in a museum in the traditional sense. The only artifacts remaining from original Happenings are photographs and oral histories. This was a challenge to the art that had previously been defined by the art object itself. Art was now defined by the action, activity, occasion, and/or experience that constituted the Happening, which was fundamentally fleeting and immaterial.
The purpose of Happenings was to confront and dismantle conventional views of the category of "art." These performances were so influential to the art world that they raised the specter of the "death" of painting.



Performance is a genre in which art is presented "live," usually by the artist but sometimes with collaborators or performers. It has had a role in avant-garde art throughout the 20th century, playing an important part in anarchic movements such as Futurism and Dada. Indeed, whenever artists have become discontented with conventional forms of art, such as painting and traditional modes of sculpture, they have often turned to performance as a means to rejuvenate their work. The most significant flourishing of performance art took place following the decline of modernism and Abstract Expressionism in the 1960s, and it found exponents across the world. Performance art of this period was particularly focused on the body, and is often referred to as Body art. This reflects the period's so-called "dematerialization of the art object," and the flight from traditional media. It also reflects the political ferment of the time: the rise of feminism, which encouraged thought about the division between the personal and political and anti-war activism, which supplied models for politicized art "actions." Although the concerns of performance artists have changed since the 1960s, the genre has remained a constant presence, and has largely been welcomed into the conventional museums and galleries from which it was once excluded.

Key Ideas

The foremost purpose of performance art has almost always been to challenge the conventions of traditional forms of visual art such as painting and sculpture. When these modes no longer seem to answer artists' needs - when they seem too conservative, or too enmeshed in the traditional art world and too distant from ordinary people - artists have often turned to performance in order to find new audiences and test new ideas.
Performance art borrows styles and ideas from other forms of art, or sometimes from other forms of activity not associated with art, like ritual, or work-like tasks. If cabaret and vaudeville inspired aspects of Dada performance, this reflects Dada's desire to embrace popular art forms and mass cultural modes of address. More recently, performance artists have borrowed from dance, and even sport.
Some varieties of performance from the post-war period are commonly described as "actions." German artists like Joseph Beuys preferred this term because it distinguished art performance from the more conventional kinds of entertainment found in theatre. But the term also reflects a strain of American performance art that could be said to emerge out of a reinterpretation of "action painting," in which the object of art is no longer paint on canvas, but something else - often the artist's own body.
The focus on the body in so much performance art of the 1960s has sometimes been seen as a consequence of the crisis in conventional media. Faith having collapsed in media such as painting, creativity ricocheted back on to the artist's own body. Some saw this as a liberation, part of the period's expansion of materials and media. Others wondered if it reflected a more fundamental crisis in the institution of art itself, a sign that art was exhausting its resources.
The performance art of the 1960s can be seen as just one of the many disparate trends that developed in the wake of Minimalism. Seen in this way, it is an aspect of Post-Minimalism, and it could be seen to share qualities of Process art, another tendency central to that umbrella style. If Process art focused attention on the techniques and materials of art production, so did aspects of performance. Process art was also often intrigued by the possibilities of mundane and repetitive activities; similarly, many performance artists were attracted to task-based activities that were very foreign to the highly choreographed and ritualized performances in traditional theatre or dance.

Bea Camacho, Artist


Single-channel video
11 hours
This video documents an eleven-hour performance during which I crocheted myself into a white carpet with white yarn. This project builds on the themes explored in an earlier video performance, “Enclose”, but puts more emphasis on the space around the body, which becomes an integral part of the work as my body slowly disappears into the architecture.

above text from artist's website. Link here. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Kathleen McDermott, Artist

A dress with two proximity sensors and a plastic armature that allows the dress to expand when a person comes too close to the wearer. 

Artist website link here

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Rebecca Horn, Artist, Born 1944, Germany

But her early body modification pieces were possibly inspired by a year spent in a sanatorium during her youth, not too long after her lungs became diseased, infected by what she terms poisonous materials. Whether such experiences really were the starting point for a career saturated with work focused on body modification is one not worth speculating; but her subsequent bandages, prosthetics and masks have their root somewhere, be it in Germany’s collective post-war experience, or in her own individual psychological makeup.
Above images and text from