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ARTH 281

Histories of Performance Art

This course explores the captivating history of performance art in the Americas. Since the early twentieth century, artists have turned to performance as an experimental mode of artistic production. They have used bodily movement, music and sound, costumes, and props to reimagine the forms, institutions, and audiences for art. What does it mean to "perform" art rather than to make an art object? We will take a hemispheric approach to this question, investigating how artists working in diverse contexts in Latin America and North America have used performance as an expressive and political form. For instance, we will analyze performance works made under dictatorial regimes in Argentina and Chile, amid the transnational feminist movement of the 1970s, and during the HIV/AIDS crisis in the United States. Among other topics, we will consider debates around performance documentation, the ethics of audience participation, and the critical use of the body by artists of color and queer and feminist artists. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

Fall Semester information

Sarah Cowan

281A: Histories of Performance Art