Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Field Trip #5: Performance Art at the Whitney Museum

DUE: 11/20

Performance art began gaining popularity in the U.S. in the early 1970s. This vein of fine arts incorporates different temporal arts traditions ranging from acting, to music, to spoken word to dance. Performances in this tradition are also called "happenings." These time-based performances are ephemeral because once a happening is finished it continues to exist only in documentation. Documentation from happenings (also referred to as "ephemera") may include printed materials, photographs, videos or even props from the performance.

For this field trip we will visit the Whitney Museum of American Art to view the exhibit, "Rituals of Rented Island." This is a historical show that features artists who participated in the New York performance art scene from 1970-1980. Many of these artists made work that referenced important social, political and cultural forces of the time. These issues ranged from American imperialism and the war in Vietnam, to sexual and gender inequality, to American pop culture and its commercialization. For your reaction, select any three happenings that are documented in the show. Describe briefly in your own words what appears to be physically taking place during the performance. What social, political or cultural references might you identify in the piece? In what ways does the presented ephemera increase or detract from your understanding of the piece? How might attending the original happening have changed your understanding of the piece. 

Your finished writing needs to be at least 350 words. It should have an introduction, three body paragraphs and a conclusion. Post the writing on your Blogger page under the title, “Performance Art at the Whitney Museum,” and label the post “Field Trip 5”.

At the end of your post, cite the three artworks that you chose in the following format. This information is generally available on the wall near the artwork:
Artist’s Full Name
“ Title of Work” written in quotations*
Year Completed
*When referencing the work in the body of your writing, also be sure to write the titles in quotations.

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