An Introduction to Performance Art | TateShots

Performance art relates to artworks that are created through actions performed by the artist or other participants, which may be live or recorded, spontaneous or scripted.

In the 1960s, performance was seen as fundamentally different from the art that could be collected or shown by art museums. It was live and ephemeral, challenging traditional notions of art.

But today performance has come to be seen as more a set of strategies available to contemporary artists, one that is not inherently different from other art forms and not at all beyond what a museum can and should show.

Now an accepted part of the visual art world, the term has since been used to also describe film, video, photographic and installation-based artworks through which the actions of artists, performers or the audience are conveyed.

Funded by The Arts and Humanities Research Council, this film reflects the ideas of the online publication ‘Performance at Tate: Into the Space of Art’ (Tate Research 2016):

‘Performance at Tate: Into the Space of Art’ explores how concepts of art have changed in relation to recent shifts in artistic production and how artists have responded to the possibilities offered by museums.

The project offers essays and case studies, and publishes audio, films and videos, photographs, museum documents and reviews drawn from Tate’s Archive, showing the richness and depth of the gallery’s engagement with performance over half a century.


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