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© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Storytelling: Selected full-text books and articles

Storytelling: Art and Technique By Ellin Greene R. R. Bowker, 1996
The Art of the Story-Teller By Marie L. Shedlock Dover Publications, 1952 (3rd edition)
The Spoken Word and the Work of Interpretation By Dennis Tedlock University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 13 "Ethnography as Interaction: The Storyteller, the Audience, the Fieldworker, and the Machine"
Knowledge and Memory: The Real Story By 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 By Jean Matter Mandler Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1984
Informant Disavowal and the Interpretation of Storytelling Revival By Heywood, Simon Folklore, Vol. 115, No. 1, April 2004
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 By Abrahamson, Craig Eilert Education, Vol. 118, No. 3, Spring 1998
Parental Development By 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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