9,181 Artists and 55,112 Works Online

Choose your search filter(s) from the categories on the right, and then click Search.

You may select multiple filters.

Browse Artist Index »

Browse Art Terms Index »

White Gray Black

Performance art

About this term

Source: Oxford University Press

Descriptive term applied to ‘live’ presentations by artists. It was first used very loosely by artists in the early 1960s in the USA to refer to the many live events taking place at that time, such as Happenings, Fluxus concerts, Events, body art or (in Germany) Aktionen and Demonstrationen. In 1969 performance was more specifically incorporated into titles of work in the USA and UK and was interchangeable with ‘performance piece’ or simply ‘piece’, as in Vito Acconci’s Performance Test or Following Piece (both 1969), and by many other artists such as Dennis Oppenheim, Yoko Ono (b 1933), Dan Graham, Rebecca Horn, Joan Jonas, Laurie Anderson and Bruce Nauman. It was closely linked to the ideological tenets and philosophy of Conceptual Art, which insisted on ‘an art of which the material is concepts’ and on ‘an art that could not be bought and sold’; those who made performance pieces did so as a statement against the gallery system and the art establishment.

RoseLee Goldberg
From Grove Art Online

© 2009 Oxford University Press


    Share by E-mail
    Share by Text Message