The Artist’s Body as New Artistic Medium

Posted: March 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

Beginning with such key artists as Marcel Duchamp and Jackson Pollock, this book examines a selection of the most significant players who have used their bodies to create their art – among them, in the 1960s Carolee Scheemann, Rudolf Schwarzkogler, Yoko Ono; in the 1970s, Chris Burden, Ana Mendieta, Vito Acconci, Marina Abramovic; up to the turn of the millennium, Matthew Barney, Marc Quinn, Tracey Emin and Mona Hatoum.

–Jacket Statement

Vito Acconci
Trademarks (1970)


The success, even the survival, of the arts has come increasingly to depend on their ability to defeat theatre [i.e., performance at]. This is perhaps nowhere more evident than within theatre itself, where the need to defeat what I have been calling theatre has chiefly made itself felt as the need to establish a drastically different relation to its audience. (The relevant texts are, of course, Brecht and Artaud.) For theatre has an audience — it exists for one — in a way the other arts do not; in fact, this more than anything else is what modernist sensibility finds intolerable in theatre generally. Here it should be remarked that literalist art, too, possesses an audience, though a somewhat special one: that the beholder is confronted by literalist work within a situation that he experiences as his means that there is an important sense in which the work in question exists for him alone, even if he is not actually alone with the work at the time. … Art degenerates as it approaches the condition of theatre. Theatre is the common denominator that binds a large and seemingly disparate variety of activities to one another, and that distinguishes those activities from the radically different enterprises of the modernist arts. … The concepts of quality and value-and to the extent that these are central to art, the concept of art itself-are meaningful, or wholly meaningful, only within the individual arts. What lies between the arts is theatre.

–Michael Fried, “Art and Objecthood” (1967)

Yoko Ono
Cut Piece (1964)



Carolee Schneeman
Meat Joy (1964)


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