ART 212 Introduction to Performance Art: Making Everyday Actions Extraordinary


In 1973, Mierle Ukeles was invited to exhibit her art at the Wadsworth Athenium Museum. Her exhibition consisted of cleaning and maintaining the building, including a grueling 8 hours spent washing its front steps. In 1990, Rirkrit Tiravanija cooked and served curry in a commercial gallery in New York. The meal was free for anyone who wanted it. In 2010, Marina Abramović sat silently in the lobby of the Museum of Modern Art for 736 hours. Visitors waited in line for hours, some camping out for days, to sit in a chair across from her and look into her eyes. How can simple actions like cleaning a staircase, cooking and serving food, or sitting across from a stranger be considered art? In this class we'll explore the ways in which carefully considered interactions with other people, objects, and spaces can become extraordinary experiences. We'll focus on everyday activities and examine how actions like recontextualizing, scripting, and repeating these activities can shift our understanding and impact an audience. We'll read about and recreate significant performances from the 1960's - today, and work individually and collaboratively to produce original works of performance art. No prior performance experience is necessary.