Performance art

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Performance Art:

“an art form that combines visual art with dramatic performance.”

Ok, performance art has a bad reputation. I feel like that’s because enough of us have some sort of experience with performance art they didn’t like and then loudly berated it for laughs at a party. I can empathize with that, in that I’ve seen planty of performances that could be generously described as “poo.”

Art history has also given us a few easy targets for derision.

John Cage’s 4’33”

Karen Finley – Just pick anything she’s done. *Warning* Children shouldn’t listen to Karen Finley speak. I’ll let you decide if anyone else should. You might get in trouble at work if your speakers are too loud.

I’ve seen a Matt Mullican performance in New York and heard him lecture for over 2 hours in St. Louis. It’s hard to say, I mean, he’s supposed to be hypnotized (by himself) and then go into a child-like state and then make drawings or paintings. Unfortunately, even if it is a true hypnotism, it looks fake and the drawings/paintings that I saw were numbingly boring.

Now, even though we don’t want to admit it, Americans do actually like performance art.

Yes, they do.

All I have to say is Borat.

There are others, also.

Remember pre-scandal PeeWee?

Consider Brother Danielson. (I’m totally a fan, I have to say, and would love to work with him, if I ever had the chance.)

So, on to the main point. Last night I saw a performance by ZAHA at NYCAMS in New York City. Thy did have a larger cast, including NYCAMS co-founder, extraordinaire, John Silvis.

I liked it. It was a little long (an hour and a half w/ no seats), but overall it was really interesting. The performers were directed improv-style by the “kapelmeister” (just call him the director, please) Evan Mazunik. He “played” them spontaneously with a series of hand jestures (they have 750 possible commands) to move, speak, improvise sound and interact. The sound quality was great and the musical piece was very interesting to hear. This was given, in part, to the talent and enthusiasm of the performers and Mazunik’s ability to produce a pleasing, if free-form, composition. Clearly these people had worked with each other before. The physical movement and interaction added a perspective that sometimes bordered on theatrical, but worked well, overall.

Nice job, ZAHA.

-W

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1 Comment

Filed under The Art World

One response to “Performance art

  1. Wesley Dumont

    what else you got?

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