Sunday, April 24, 2016

Reading Response

  • Futurism was an anti-art response to traditional art, and was conceived with the idea of acting against the notions that capital “A” art carried. The futurists also wanted to provoke their audiences to make them angry and to respond so that they would think and consider what the Futurists were making and why it might matter. This was not art that was straight forward and easy to understand. Dada took these ideas of going against Art and making the audience think and further consider what was in front of them; and focused more on the art that they were creating in performance—less focus on written manifesto. The Dadaists would open clubs, cabarets, and galleries and feature performance of some kind for their audiences. These performances in turn would provoke the audiences and make them respond in kind—usually in frustration in anger. And while these spaces would close, the Dadaists would move on to new cities and open new acts to be seen. They continued the idea of improvisation and minimal rehearsal. Their ideas acted less against the traditional art form and more against the obscenity and censorship laws that were created by those in government. Movements in the 30s and 60s seemed to borrow from the notion of art as accessible and as a way to accentuate the daily action or things from daily life along with stripping away the pretentiousness and spectacle that continued to be a part of traditional mainstream art. I found it interesting the way Black Mountain College had a group of artists that looked at theatre for it’s fundamental phenomena and not the contemporary value that it carried; along with John Cage’s usage of the ordinary sound and noises that we as people usually take for granted and forget to pay attention to.
  • It seems to me that these artists all used their bodies because it’s what they had. Performance art to me is about simplicity and doing an action that you as an artist are committed to. Every single performance that we have studied and seen so far required a level of commitment—especially Marina Abramovic’s endurance pieces, along with Madison’s Pretty Woman piece. These pieces ask so much of the performer that it makes sense for them to be using their bodies as opposed to using someone else’s. It also means that they, as the artist, are carrying story in their choice of ‘sacrifice’ and of action. If their main goal was to make people think by creating striking images and actions that would cause immediate reactions and later carry in the minds of people; then the body makes sense. If the person whose name is on the exhibit—the artist—is doing the creating the striking image in front of you or doing the action, then as an audience, it carries the most weight. The audience will see it, feel it, and receive it.
  • Performance art is a weird amalgamation of theatre and painting/sculpture/etc. However, it did not exist as a term/was defined until more recently. Looking back, we can apply the term performance art to the piece that were made and performed.
  • Conceptual art is art where the ideas of the piece are the focus rather than tradition and material.
  • Aesthetics can be included in performance art and conceptual art. However, it is not the focus and reason for the existence of the art form. Therefore, conceptual art serves as a rebellion to the aestheticism because it doesn’t exist for aesthetics. I believe this rebellion happened because “art for art’s sake” and aestheticism started to hold a higher weight than the ideas and meaning behind the art. The conceptual artists wanted to focus on ideas and meaning; along with making sure that their art was available and open for the public to view and understand.
  • Performance art is really hard to appreciate and understand. It isn’t theatre and it’s different than the art that we’ve accepted and claim to understand.
  • A “Happening” indicated that something was going to ‘happen’ or occur in front of the audience. It harkened to the spontaneity and unpredictability of what was going to happen. It wasn’t a show so much as an event that was going to occur—rehearsal was minimal and there was a great amount of chance.
  • Chance operations mean that no two performances will ever be exactly the same. There is some part of the piece that is ensured to different or change based on a variable as set or planned by the artist. This was extremely important for John Cage because it departed from the traditional music tradition of having planned and exact musical scores. Cage wanted to find the beauty in the ordinary—in the random sounds that surround us always. These sounds are unplanned and don’t always fall into a perfect pattern. However, the beauty of the human brain is that a performance will always be seen as perfect and planned, because we find the patterns or we perceive what we think we see.

1 comment:

  1. Very good response, Benjamin. Yes, in adding to your last answer, Cage being influenced by Duchamp and by Zen wanted to rid art making of the ego and instead “Our intention is to affirm this life, not to bring order out of chaos, nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply to wake up to the very life we're living, which is so excellent once one gets one's mind and desires out of its way and lets it act of it's own accord.”