Feminism In Performance Art

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Performance art is an artistic format that combines the visual with physical. The open-ended medium possesses endless variables and possibilities of immaterial means of connecting art to the body. In the feminist art movement, performance art provided a bridge that connected women to their bodies. When relating to the female form, performance art serves a command, rather than an invitation. Artists involved in this movement challenged their roles in the art world as well as a society. While the idea of the female form and the body is part of traditions found in classical art, the female nude continued to be defined and created by men. It wasn’t until the performance art movement that women began to fully emerge from their stereotypical submissive…show more content…
By condemning conventionality and repurposing the taboo, women could liberate their bodies and create performances that combined vulgarity, femininity, and strength. One way artists shocked the audience was through vulvic imagery and use of the vagina as a representation of both femininity and biology. Carolee Schneemann’s performance, Interior Scroll (1975), shocked the audience with crude and intimate art. Although her performance was about the female nude, she refused to fetishize her genitals and used her vagina as a tool both physically and metaphorically. In her piece, Schneemann covered her naked body with paint, mounted a table, posed as a figure model, and extracted a long coil of paper from her vagina. As she read the text written on the paper, she suggested the act of claiming the positon as the intellectual creator. Through her pose and the extraction of the text, she suggested the act of motherhood and implied an assimilation of birth; both of which aid in the suggestion womanhood and creation. From the paper, she read feminist works that reclaimed women’s roles and bodily functions. Schneemann meant for the action and text to lift the taboo of the vagina and celebrate the female nude rather than it be fetishized. In addition to Schneemann’s use of vulvic imagery, Shigeko Kubota’s performance, Vagina Painting (1965), used the female genitals as a symbol of female identity…show more content…
In this work, Abramovic brushes her hair repeatedly while saying the title repetitively. By stating the standard of female beauty in art, the performance makes the audience aware of the discriminatory gender roles and creates a feeling of discomfort. While the beginning of the performance is striking, the continuous act of bushing hair changing from aggressive and violent to calm and poetic, makes the audience unsettled. However, as the performance continues and the actions continue to weave through different emotions, the piece becomes incredibly profound. The act of saying that the artist must be beautiful becomes hauntingly human. By repeating this line, Abramovic challenges conventional beauty standards and calls upon modern female desires to be physically beautiful. Not only does the performance extract from physical appearance, the piece questions whether art must be beautiful. In performance art, the actions often challenge the performer and bring it to the extreme by putting emotional and physical stress on the artist’s body and mind. Art must be Beautiful, Artist Must be Beautiful puts continuous stress upon the artist’s body by reclaiming the figure as the artists own and exposing the harsh realities of social expectations. Consequently, as an artist, Mariana Abramovic’s piece challenges physical beauty

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