November 09, 2007
There is a twenty day festival currently taking place in New York City called Performa 2007. It celebrates performance art with a variety of events and works.
Performance art has only recently been given any serious thought. Prior to the 1960's, most people considered it inferior to less ephemeral artforms such as painting, sculpture, etc. However, the short-lived nature of performance art is one of the aspects which makes it so appealing. As a recent New York times article put it: "Art is Brief. You Just Have to Be There."
Performance art is the celebration of the present, living moment. Like all art forms, it seeks to express something to the audience. However, the artist is not driven to make his art live forever despite his absence. Unlike paintings and sculptures, performance art can only exist with the artist's presence. It appears that performance artists are primarily driven by the desire to convey a message and the pure pleasure of making art. The want to leave behind their art so that they will be remembered does not obscure their creativity. Perhaps then, performance art should be seen as one of the purist of art forms. This also might suggest that in the future, we should allow the definition of art to be open.
Posted by leslieph at November 9, 2007 12:40 PM