A reform-school runaway at thirteen, a performer in the legendary New York City Playhouse of the Ridiculous at seventeen, and an escapee from Andy Warhol’s Factory scene at nineteen, Penny Arcade (born Susanna Ventura) emerged in the 1980s as a primal force on the New York art scene and an originator of what came to be called performance art. Arcade’s brand of high camp and street-smart, punk-rock cabaret showmanship has been winning over international audiences ever since.
In Closer, Susan Kozel draws on live performance practice, digital technologies, and the philosophical approach of phenomenology. Trained in dance and philosophy, Kozel places the human body at the center of explorations of interactive interfaces, responsive systems, and affective computing, asking what can be discovered as we become closer to our computers--as they become extensions of our ways of thinking, moving, and touching.
The cinematic has been a springboard for the work of many influential artists, including Victor Burgin, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Stan Douglas, Nan Goldin, Douglas Gordon, Cindy Sherman, and Jeff Wall, among others. Much recent cinema, meanwhile, is rich with references to contemporary photography. Video art has taken a photographic turn into pensive slowness; photography now has at its disposal the budgets and scale of cinema.
Caked in mud, bearing a lattice appendage of sticks attached to his back, wearing a headdress and a nylon mask, artist Kim Jones's alter ego Mudman began appearing on city streets, on the beach, and in galleries around Southern California in the 1970s. Jones emerged from the performance art movement, and the unsettling, itinerant figure of Mudman connected the abstract, formal investigations of process- and material-based artists with the intense physicality of body-based performances. Mudman was both artistic persona and artistic construction.
Pioneering conceptual artist Vito Acconci began his career as a poet. In the 1960s, before beginning his work in performance and video art, Acconci studied at the Iowa Writers Workshop and published poems in journals and chapbooks. Almost all of this work remains unknown; much of it appeared in the self-produced magazines of the Lower East Side's mimeo revolution, and many other pieces were never published.
The body as an object of critical study dominates disciplines across the humanities to such an extent that a new discipline has emerged: body criticism. In Getting Under the Skin, Bernadette Wegenstein traces contemporary body discourse in philosophy and cultural studies to its roots in twentieth-century thought—showing how psychoanalysis, phenomenology, cognitive science, and feminist theory contributed to a new body concept—and studies the millennial body in performance art, popular culture, new media arts, and architecture.
In an age when scientists say they can no longer specify the exact difference between human and animal, living and dead, many contemporary artists have chosen to use animals in their work -- as the ultimate "other," as metaphor, as reflection. The attempt to discover what is animal, not surprisingly, leads to a greater understanding of what it means to be human. In Becoming Animal, 12 internationally known artists investigate the shifting boundaries between animal and human.
Art made to attach to buildings or to be given away? Wearable art for street demonstrations or art that sets up a booth at a trade show? This is the art of the interventionists, who trespass into the everyday world to raise our awareness of injustice and other social problems. These artists don't preach or proselytize; they give us the tools to form our own opinions and create our own political actions. The Interventionists, which accompanies an exhibit at MASS MoCA, serves as a handbook to this new and varied work.