The Performance Art Movement

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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 in society. While the idea of the female form has been a tradition 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 image…show more content…
During the 1900s, even after the civil rights movement passed, women continued to be objectified and dismissed. Socially, women were projected as the idealistic housewife, and were given unrealistic beauty standards. Views of women were conflicting, because in the media women could be sexualized, but could not openly talk about sex or have complete authority over their bodies. However, during the 1960s and 1970s, female artists fought to reclaim their bodies and dismiss these sexist ideas. One way women took authority over their bodies was by challenging stereotypes through performance art. By condemning conventionality and repurposing the taboo, women liberated their bodies and created performances that combined vulgarity, femininity, and strength. Carolee Schneemann’s performance, Interior Scroll (1975), shocked the audience with vulvic imagery and crude 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…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 '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 artist’s own and exposing the harsh realities of social expectations. Consequently, as an artist, Mariana Abramovic’s piece challenges physical beauty and
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