Week 10 Assignment Post

Here is what you need to have done by class on Monday:

Write your proposal for the Performing the Process project and email it to me; add 4 links to your del.icio.us site; read section 5 in the Readings Binder on reserve in the library, In Defense of Performance by Guillermo Gomez-Pena and make two thoughtful comments on this blog post; attend 1440 at the Gallery of Contemporary Art, UCCS and the IDEA Space, Colorado College on Friday evening and make two comments on the upcoming assignment post about the exhibition. Please remember that we will meet in the dance studio for class on Monday, and please make sure that you have read the Schechner (section 8 in the library reserve binder) that has been assigned for the past couple weeks.

Here are some considerations:

  • As a performance artist (even if you only consider yourself such when performing in class), what claims/assertions does Gomez-Pena make that resonate with you and your experience?
  • What assumptions does he make that you find unhelpful? Why?
  • How does this article inform your investigation into the nature of performance art? Are there elements or approaches that you find limiting or inaccurate? Explain.
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28 Comments

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28 responses to “Week 10 Assignment Post

  1. thehankfuldread

    i think that guillermo gomez-pena’s definition of performance art, and the performance artist, is the best one that i have heard so far. it is clear, well spoken, and somewhat profound. even just in the opening section “the map”, that was very insightful. i find it very amusing that it took untill now, 3/4 of the way through the semester to find a definition that i am content with, other than the old one i was using… “anything and everything”.

  2. thehankfuldread

    when gomez-pena talks about being “hardcore dropouts from our original communities” it makes me wonder what will happen to performance art in the future. just like punk rock for instance, they were all dropouts, and anti-establishment. then, look what happened with groups like Blink 182. Green Day for a better example, started as punk rockers, went super corporate. i feel now like that is not even possible to have mainstream performance art, but, everyone thought that about punk rock too. and if you know how bad mainstream punk rock is, just imagine the possibilities for main stream performance art.

  3. ladywood

    As much as I hate reading informational articles, I enjoyed the Gomez-Pena article. The way he started it out made me laugh and want to continue to read more. I loved the response his nephew gave for the question as to what was performance art: “It’s like…really cool…and you do neat stuff and s***.”
    His view on performance art made sense to me. The way he described how performance art as being a way of animating the whole body, using every piece to make an artistic piece. He convinced me slightly to appreciate performance art as art.

  4. ladywood

    At the 1440 exhibit, I really didn’t understand what was going on. It seemed like a very unorganized event, which irritated me because I was on a tight schedule that evening and felt like my time was wasted. Thus, when finally going in, I was already in a bad mood and found I didn’t appreciate the art, maybe because I didn’t understand it and I was agitated. I didn’t understand what the purposes were of the performance pieces, and the only thing I enjoyed was the Art Confessional. That was a good idea because I felt I could express what I felt about art and not be judged. However, I feel that was not enough to redeem the show. I would have liked to see more on the walls, more paintings or pictures. There was a large space of the gallery that was left untouched, and it was an uncomfortable feeling. Perhaps it is just me who still lives in the Renaissance era and can’t fully grasp the meaning of performance and modern art, and who shouldn’t be attending these productions.

  5. ladywood

    At the 1440 exhibit, I really didn’t understand what was going on. It seemed like a very unorganized event, which irritated me because I was on a tight schedule that evening and felt like my time was wasted. Thus, when finally going in, I was already in a bad mood and found I didn’t appreciate the art, maybe because I didn’t understand it and I was agitated. I didn’t understand what the purposes were of the performance pieces, and the only thing I enjoyed was the Art Confessional. That was a good idea because I felt I could express what I felt about art and not be judged. However, I feel that was not enough to redeem the show. I would have liked to see more on the walls, more paintings or pictures. There was a large space of the gallery that was left untouched, and it was an uncomfortable feeling. Perhaps it is just me who still lives in the Renaissance era and can’t fully grasp the meaning of performance and modern art.

  6. kkomaenge

    In the article says, “When performance-studies scholars refer to “ the performance field,” they often mean something different than what performance artist mean: A much broader field that encompasses all things performative, including anthropology, religious practice, pop culture, and sports and civic events” I agree with them because the people who study performance art they are using performance to not be narrow. Everyone can find performing art in their life even if they are not artists.

  7. kkomaenge

    The article says that, “Many of us are exiles from the visual arts, but we rarely make objects for display in museums and galleries. In fact, our main artwork is our own body, ridden with insemiotic, political, ethnographic, cartographic, and mythical implications” that the piece of art in the galleries will keep longer however, performance art has to be for the audience and most people see when artist perform their work. Some people recorded their own but even though they recorded their work people could not feel. Usual art can be seen even after its finished but performance art cannot be seen in the same way even if it is a recording.

  8. kkomaenge

    For the 1440 exhibit, I do not understand what they want to talk about their artwork. Also, I really did not like piece of the art church. I seem like he mocked church because the bible says, we cannot believes any other god, but he mentions that a kind of other religion. Also, I do not understand why he put the televisions there. Other works for two people go inside of different place and make other person laugh. There have no reason for doing that. Maybe people want to get the money from her but after that what she wants to trying? Most works unclear to understand. I cannot find their concept of work.

  9. trinityblk

    I agree with everyone so far on GP’s essay “In Defense of Performance Art”. While we were warned that there is no “perfect” explanation of Performance Art I feel this article would have been extremely handy to have read on Day 1. I feel that this article and an open discussion forum would have helped us in our projects and continued study of Performance Art. If this article had been before our “tougher” articles we may have had a better sense of basic layout of this type of art. Analogy: I feel we got the solution to the math problem first, told to find the “process” on our own and then given the “how to” after we struggled on our own.

    That being said I also feel that GP tried too hard to “explain” Performance Art while appeasing everyone’s thoughts on it. If he had wrote strictly from the “I” instead of the “I” and the “We” his voice might have been a bit clearer and less apologetic to those he may potentially offend.

  10. trinityblk

    In GP’s essay I found the follow quote interesting; “Dreams tend to be much more radical than ‘reality.’ That’s why they are much closer to art than to life.”.

    While most thesis on Performance Art seemed to alienate the “normal” person, this quote had the feeling of universal appeal. Dreams are a concept that is still not understood. Why do we dream what we dream? Are dreams important? Can a person control their own dreams? By GP making this connection between dreams and the art world he is actually following in a long line of universal contemplation. I like this idea because, to me, it means there is a connection between the Performance Artist and the everyday man. We all wonder about our dreams and it doesn’t matter who you are, we’re all guessing.

  11. trinityblk

    Post for Schechner done on Week 9 (part 1) with other Schechner posts.

  12. trinityblk

    1440 Exhibit-
    While I do not totally agree with the comments above I don’t exactly disagree either. I understood that there was clearly some form of art “design” to each piece I was not able to understand what the “actual”, or idea, was of the pieces. The CC location seemed bare and unfinished. The two installations I saw had no explanation or concept underlining them. People were just standing around talking and seemed to ask the same question “What does this mean”. Normally this would be a good question, but I saw no evidence of anyone being able to form an opinion or idea to answer the question.

    The UCCS location felt better organized but also had the same “meaning less” feel to it. The art comment board had the resemblance of a school science project done to many times, the church scene felt cheesy and offered little “value” or controversy, the video surveillance was so “clinical” it was hard to distinguish it from a security room on campus and the laugh test looked like a failed Disney booth at Epcot. As much as I studied, questioned or investigated each piece I was not able to resolve on a

  13. cleasure

    Though I think that Gomez-Peña and I differ greatly in lifestyle and our investment in performance art, I could identify with a lot of the comments he made about the practice of performance. In my limited experience with this medium, I have encountered only a few of the issues that he mentions in the article, such as people constantly asking for a definition or explanation of your performance or the feeling that you want to perform something regardless of whether or not people will understand it, just to see the idea played out. Sometimes I become so involved in the process that I forget to consider the audience of my piece.

  14. cleasure

    I suppose that some of the assumptions that he makes about performance artists as a group could be unhelpful because of the generalizations it could create within a literary audience. On one hand, he counters stereotypes that have previously been formed about performance artists, but on the other, he creates new stereotypes. Granted, these ideas about the nature of performance artists could be closer to the truth, but they create the same kind of generalized definition that the former stereotypes created. I think as long as the reader consciously separates his definition as a possibility rather than an all-encompassing definition, the generalization is effective in describing one definition of performance art.

  15. cleasure

    It took me a while to be engaged by the installations in the UCCS gallery for 1440, but once I spent some time, especially in the art church, I felt like I could appreciate them better. I especially liked the art church because of the way the installation drew an audience in and created such a different environment within a fairly limited amount of space. Though, I did feel that the scripted service that they performed could have been taken further, perhaps with different readings that were less disjointed, I felt that the piece was successful.

  16. cleasure

    I would agree with trinityblk that in the art space at Colorado College, the installations seemed a little bit disorganized. I think what was a little bit problematic about the pieces was that they did not stand out very much from the rest of the space. The one piece that did draw me in was the crocheted piece on the floor. It took me a moment to realize that there were not artists seated around the rug, but members of the audience. I did participate in crocheting part of the rug and I found that I was more engaged by being able to add my own ideas and aesthetic to the rug. Other people seemed really engaged by the piece too. One person was teaching another how to crochet, while some were just talking about when they learned. It became more of a conversation starter than anything else, and this new function gave it more depth as a piece of art work.

  17. Cheri Soulia

    The performance art works from the art exhibit, 1440 minutes were all very different from each other and stressed different concerns in society. The one that I think I noticed first was the surveillance…of course I didn’t notice it when I walked in but after I took a look around. The funny thing about it was that it was facing the food table. I think this was ironic because it showed whether or not someone was there for the actual show or just to get some food.
    The other one that I thought was funny was the ARTCHURCH piece which obviously stressed religion in today’s society. I think it was getting at what people worship and in how some ways it can be a little ridiculous. I think this was geared toward Catholicism because of the pamphlet given for the “mass”.

  18. molly

    I agree that the Pena article was entertaining. It made me wish I had been able to go see him perform when he was in Fort Collins. I find that even though I have a hard time enjoying an artists work directly, if they write about it well, and make clear, unpretentious points about art, especially in the realm of performance art, I make more of an effort to like their work. I do find that it does take an effort, at least for me, to like some art, especially when it comes to medium that has no definition. Pena makes a number of reasonable points about Performance art which helped clarify it a little, and perhaps put into context what we’re doing in class.

  19. desibrink

    I did not agree with Gomez-Peña’s discussion about performance artists. I think that he had some valid points about previous definitions, but like cleasure said, I think his new definitions held a lot of misgivings too. Performance art, like many different types of art, is hard to define not only because it is so broad in what it encompasses, but also because it’s free nature.

  20. desibrink

    Gomez-Peña had some interesting things to say about the practice of performance. Not that I have done much in terms of performance out side of the class (minus high school band days), but I would imagine having to define and in a way defend your performance to people all the time would become tiring after a while. As regards to performance art, it is a lot different in the sense that one has to experience it, and not its documentation, in order to be able to fully understand it, unlike a painting.

  21. Cheri Soulia

    I think that Gomez-Pena’s discussion about performance art was valid but unfortunately I’m still not satisified and I don’t know if I ever will be. I really don’t think anybody can define performance art or give a discription that totally captures it. In a way though I think that’s the beauty of it…It’s not vivid just like peotry and some of the best art in the world. You just have to figure it out fro yourself and it’s great because it’s a feeling inside of you that ou can’t express in words.
    I also wanted to discuss how he talked about mainstream performance art and if it would ver get there and whether or not it would be polluted. I truthfully don’t know and in a way I think “doubtful”. Unfortuantely as much as art is suppose to have an impact on others I don’t think it reaches as many people as we think…I mean how many people come to galleries who know nothing about art? Probably zero. Even performance art that is not held in a gallery does not reach people that much. As far as performance art becoming mainstream…maybe for commerical purposes but not for moral ones.

  22. heidirides

    While I found much of this article helpful, the use of ‘we’ was confusing, even though he appoligized ahead of time. Sometimes he uses ‘we’ to refer to performance artists, other times to his particular brand of performance art, and other times it seems like the reader is ‘we.’ Particularily when he says “We tend to see our probable future reflected in the eyes of the homeless, the poor, the unemployed…” Who is ‘we’ ?
    It would seem he is attempting to elaborate on his definition of ‘performance artist’ stated earlier, but this about the homeless and poor seems a bit too specific for performance art in general and more about his brand individually. However, because of the way he uses ‘we’ it is a bit unclear as to exactly who he is refering.

  23. heidirides

    I am quite satisfied with GP’s definition of a performance artist as one who, “critiques high art, consumer culture, …global politics…narrowminded notions of identity, community and art making.” To me this what being a participant in society means, rather than accepting what we are spoon fed by the media, government, and various other institutions. The performance artist assists society by illuminating the mundane and emphasizing the awareness of life and living. Creating awareness of the way we view others and the world seems to fit with McLuhan’s role of the artist to illuminate/create anti-environments. Thinking about why we do things rather than mindlessly milling about our daily lives in search of greater wealth seems like a worth while endeavor, this (to me) is the role of the performance artist.

  24. kait

    Gomez-Pena stated that he doesn’t look for answers but rather raises irritating questions. This to me is the most understandable definition as to what performance artist do. I relate most to this statement because I believe that it is very difficult to say what is right or wrong, define things fully, or answer completely the questions of the world. It is good that a performance artist understands that what they are performing is not absolutism but rather suggestive, and a way to make the audience become more aware of what they may not know.

  25. molly

    What I remember most after taking a few days to think about the GOmez-Pena article was “My Job” and how the hope for reflection in the viewer is what performance artist are looking for. He says that if the peformance is effective, and here is where I was most happy with his article, he say in parenthesis, “I didnt say good, but effective”, the reflection process can linger for a good amount of time. He led me to believe that even the performances that dont work out the way they were intended, or weren’t played out well at all, as long as the concept is clear and the idea is effective, thats all that needs to be present in order for the piece to work.

    It makes me feel better about my projects in that the performance itself may suck because I’m not well practiced in the medium, but the concepts behind the work are more important anyway.

  26. kait

    I felt as though Gomez-Pena is extremely against a lot of things. There is a lot of bitterness in this article against other artists, authorities, celebrity culture, etc. I find it rather interesting that he stated earlier that performances are to evoke questioning in a made up mind, but he seems to rather pushy as to his thoughts and feeling to be absolute truth. After reading this I have come to find that this performance artist is just mad a certain things that he doesn’t understand and therefore deems them to be bad or wrong. I respect his theories but I do feel as though he performs what he hates, sometimes.

  27. elpetty84

    At first the Gomez-Pena article was hard to understand based on the way it was written. However as i read it, it was actually an easier read than the McLuhan article. When it comes to his idea of what performance art is, he compared it to how a performance for a map maker or a cartographer, he considered their performance to be the process of making maps. Then he expands this by describing the visual artists such as the sculptors; and how they basically create artifacts, sometimes using their own bodies. From this comment what i can pick up is that as an actress , my performance is acting, and nothing else. I am a performance artist and whatever I choose as my art, that is what i consider my performance to be.

  28. elpetty84

    Before attending the 1440 exhibition i really did not know what to expect when going into it. once i was inside there were three exhibits set up. One consisted of a two large boxes with cameras inside them, each contained one person each making a funny face, and then the whistle blew when someone laughed, and the winner got $5. Another one was a set of cameras that were set up to watch people that were getting food from the tables. Then, there was a “confession” board and a church set up where there was a service held. What i really liked about all of the exhibits is that they all expressed extreme levels of creativity and uniqueness that made each one very entertaining. My favorite was the “art church” , because unlike regular church it did not go on forever, there was nothing but laughter and i actually i was apart of the art church itself; we were all artists gathered together to celebrate and worship our “art gods” such as Andy Warhol and we also had our art beliefs such as the concept of Surrealism, our rites as artists, the so-called “unartfullness of Modern Life”, and a discussion of the Mystery of the Creative Process. Afterwards I came to the realization that like all religions in the world, i think that the artists should also have a place of worship; it made me love what I have chosen to do with my life even more.

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