Usually paintings or sculptures are finished while the artist is alone and are shown to others later, but Performance Art does not work quite that way. Sometimes, artists practice what they are going to do by themselves, but still must try to do it the same way when they are ready to perform it. Other a performance artists try to show something more random and improvised. This means they don’t practice at all and just kind of wing it.
Performance Art can be used for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the artist wants to make a serious point about something important like global warming or world hunger. Other times, it’s more fun and humorous. It can be used to ask questions or show a personal story. Either way, it’s always interesting!
Improvise: to think of something right on the spot without having enough time to think about it or plan it out.
One performance that got people to notice her was called “The Art is Present.” In her performance all she did was sit at a table a make eye contact with random people who sat across from her. It seems really simple, but eye contact isn’t easy. Sometimes looking at people makes us nervous or makes us want to laugh or look away. She would stare at the other person for longer than usual. People came from all over to watch it!
How do you feel when you accidentally look at a stranger? How do you feel when you look at your mom or dad? Is it different or the same?
Eye contact means different things for different people and it all connects back to how we feel. Some animals even get flushed or upset if you make eye contact with them. All of these different ideas that connect to this are why we consider this art. It makes us look at the world differently!
This Performance Art happened at the Museum of Modern Art. Below, you can see a short clip of the Performance. Do you think she was expecting to see her old friend?
Murakami Saburo “Passing Through”
He is using his body to represent how sometimes we have to push through our own thoughts to do a good job at something. Have you ever had a hard time doing something and thought you would never get it right? How did you feel when you finally were able to do it, like learning how to ride you bike or doing a hard math problem? It feels great after you push through the hard part! That’s exactly what this Performance Art is about.
What would you want to show other people if you were?