Why Aren't You Present?
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Why Aren't You Present?

"Realize the power of art that does not hang on the walls of galleries." Abramović

206
Why Aren't You Present?

In a world where media consumption is easily accessible and the art world can be navigated at your fingertips, not just in a gallery, how can artists capture our attention? Paintings can become mass produced prints and you can explore sculptures in 360 view finders online. An art medium that has maintained its one-of-a-kind in person novelty is the performance art piece. Filming the performance cannot do it justice, photographing it lends no hand, the only way to experience it is to be present.

“We always project into the future or reflect in the past but we are so little in the present.” – Marina Abramović

Watch a clip of Abramović's The Artist is Present.

But what’s the point of being a performance artist? Why should we engage with performance art if we can sit at home and keep up with the newest art and trends on Tumblr? What makes it worth it?

Think of an art form that serves to break down boundaries, toe lines of discomfort, and denounce the material. An art form that is unsellable, an experience that is simply that, an experience.

“The most revolutionary ideas are not sellable, but only mind-changing.” – Marina Abramović

Performance art has been on the rise since the early twentieth-century, sparked by movements such as Futurism and Dada. Performance gave artists the opportunity to forge an experience for the audience that left them convinced rather than working their words into a material form in hopes of persuasion. Artists embraced the mediums propensity toward more radical subject matter including political dissent and feminism as early as the 1960s.

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” – Aristotle.

Performance art has shown more than any other medium that, “Good art is not what it looks like, but what it does to us.” – Roy Adzak

Here are a few examples of powerful performance art that made us feel something.

  • Carolee Schneeman, Interior Scroll (1975)

After smearing her nude body in paint, Schneeman then pulled text inscribed paper from her vagina and read it aloud to the audience. The text was likely her response to a male critic’s critique of her work. Talk about baring it all and leaving the audience with more than a few questions.

  • Chris Burden, Shoot (1971)

Burden addresses humanity’s call to morality when he stood against a wall whilst his best friend shot him .22 rifle in his arm.

  • Yves Klein, The Anthropometries of the Blue Period (1958)

Actresses painted in blue served as Klein’s paintbrushes for his live audience painting. Klein’s work was inspired by the atomic explosions of Hiroshima and Nagasaki years prior.

  • Joseph Beuys, Coyote: I Like America and America Likes Me (1974)

Beuys lived in a gallery for three days with a wild coyote and each day the Wall Street Journal was dropped off for the coyote to use the bathroom on.

  • Linda Montano, Tehching Hsieh, One Year Performance (a.k.a. Rope Piece) (4 July 1983 - 3 July 1984)

An eight-foot piece of rope bound these two artists together for a year and although they were always in the same space, they didn’t touch the whole time they were bound.

  • Marni Kotak, The Birth of Baby X (2011)

Kotak built a birthing area at an art gallery where she had a live water birth overseen by a doula.

  • Casey Jenkins, Vagina Knitting (2013)

For 28 days Jenkins pushed wool up her vagina and pulled it out as she knit during the day.

  • Janine Antoni, Loving Care (1992)

Antoni coated her hair in black hair dye, using the soaked mass to paint live on the floor.

  • Mona Hatoum, Performance Still (1985)

Hatoum walked barefoot through the city for an hour while her Doc Martin boots tied to her ankles trailed behind her.

  • Marina Abramović, The Artist is Present (2010)

For 736 hours Abramović sat on display at MOMA, silently for 8 hours a day. Abramović broke down boundaries between life and art. “Communication starts when words are not present at all. I think we put so much emphasis on language; actually silence is so much more important.”


Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

How to Celebrate Valentine's Day Without a Valentine

You know YOU are not determined by your romantic status

4215
How to Celebrate Valentine's Day Without a Valentine
https://www.southbostontoday.com/celebrating-valentines-day-in-southie-next-thursday-of-course/

Although the most romantic and love-filled holiday is right around the corner, it's important to know that Feb.14, the middle day of the shortest month of the year, doesn't need to be determined by your current romantic status. With that being said, you can either choose to sulk over the fact that you're single or you can make the best out of Valentine's Day without even having one.

Here are a few ideas to celebrate the day:

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

7 Fun Facts About The Eiffel Tower

The iconic landmark is reinventing itself with a splashy new color.

7080
Eiffel Tower

Soon, the 2024 Summer Olympics are coming to Paris, and the Eiffel Tower will be in the spotlight.

Embedded so much into Paris's identity, the iconic landmark is no stranger to historic events and world-class gatherings over the years. It is sure to shine again.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Blue Skies Weren't Always Blue

You don't just start as the person you are meant to be; there is a journey full of ups and downs that mold a person, so this is my journey.

6022
Blue Skies Weren't Always Blue

Overall I'd love to say I grew up a happy overly enthusiastic child that was taught to love herself and be loved by everyone else, but I can't say that and I never will. My smile wasn't always as bright as it is today, but this is the story behind my smile, the story about how I got here to the happiest place I'll ever be. I'll begin at freshman year of high school.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The Heart Wants what the Heart Wants

Just remember sometimes it is gonna hurt, whether we want it to or not!

7974
The Heart Wants what the Heart Wants
Where to start...... Let me start with the cliche that life throws us curveballs and what we do with it is what counts.

One day he walked into my life. UNEXPECTED! And one day he walked out!

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Top 3 Response Articles of This Week

See which conversations rose to the top on Odyssey this week!

6523
Pixabay

New response writers means exciting new conversations on Odyssey! We're proud to spotlight our talented creators and the topics that matter most to them. Here are the top three response articles of last week:

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments