Storytelling

performance art

performance art, multimedia art form originating in the 1970s in which performance is the dominant mode of expression. Perfomance art may incorporate such elements as instrumental or electronic music, song, dance, television, film, sculpture, spoken dialogue, and storytelling. Its roots lie in early 20th-century modernist experiments with mixed media, particularly in Dada performances. The direct antecedent of performance art, however, can be found in the happenings of the late 1950s and the 1960s. Among the most obvious differences between the two is that the later movement tends to be much less spontaneous in nature than the earlier and that happenings were almost always created by visual artists, whereas performance artists generally have more varied backgrounds, often in theater, writing, or dance.

Primarily an avant-garde form, performance art is often emotional and topical, frequently dealing with political and personal matters and with issues such as race, class, and feminism. Probably the best-known contemporary American performance artist is Laurie Anderson; others include Nam June Paik (also involved earlier with happenings), Michael Smith, Vito Acconci, Carolee Schneeman, Martha Wilson, and Marina Abramovic. Often classified as performance artists are such monologist-writers Eric Bogosian, Spalding Gray, Karen Finley, Anna Deavere Smith, and John Leguizamo. The form enjoyed a widespread revival in the early 21st cent., with museums and galleries restaging works originally created in the 1970s and also presenting new examples of the art.

See G. Battcock and R. Nickas ed., The Art of Performance (1983); M. Roth ed., The Amazing Decade: Women and Performance Art in America, 1970–1980 (1983); R. Goldberg, Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present (1988); H. M. Sayre, The Object of Performance (1989); C. Carr, On Edge: Performance at the End of the Twentieth Century (1993); P. Phelan, Unmarked: The Politics of Performance (1993); and E. Diamond, ed., Performance and Cultural Politics (1996).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Storytelling: Art and Technique
Ellin Greene.
R. R. Bowker, 1996
The Art of the Story-Teller
Marie L. Shedlock.
Dover Publications, 1952 (3rd edition)
The Story Factor: Secrets of Influence from the Art of Storytelling
Annette Simmons.
Perseus Publishing, 2001
Of Mice and Metaphors: Therapeutic Storytelling with Children
Jerrold R. Brandell.
Basic Books, 2000
The Creative Process: A Computer Model of Storytelling and Creativity
Scott R. Turner.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1994
The Spoken Word and the Work of Interpretation
Dennis Tedlock.
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 13 "Ethnography as Interaction: The Storyteller, the Audience, the Fieldworker, and the Machine"
Storymaking in Elementary and Middle School Classrooms: Constructing and Interpreting Narrative Texts
Joanne M. Golden.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000
Knowledge and Memory: The Real Story
Robert S. Wyer Jr.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "Personal Storytelling in Everyday Life: Social and Cultural Perspectives"
Stories, Scripts, and Scenes: Aspects of Schema Theory
Jean Matter Mandler.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1984
Stories from the Heart: Teachers and Students Researching Their Literacy Lives
Richard J. Meyer.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1996
Informant Disavowal and the Interpretation of Storytelling Revival
Heywood, Simon.
Folklore, Vol. 115, No. 1, April 2004
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Storytelling as a Pedagogical Tool in Higher Education
Abrahamson, Craig Eilert.
Education, Vol. 118, No. 3, Spring 1998
Parental Development
Jack Demick; Krisanne Bursik; Rosemarie DiBiase.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1993
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Parental Goals and Styles of Storytelling"
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