Monday, October 7, 2013

Greg Oct. 21: Risky business: Performance art and danger

“If An Artist Doesn’t Take Risks, Then It’s Not Worth It.”—photographer Robert Frank 
For Greg's discussion group on Oct. 21, we'll be looking at the work of Los Angeles artist Chris Burden (whose work is the subject of a just-opened major retrospective at New York's New Museum) and New York artist Marina Abramovic to consider risk-taking in art—particularly in performance art. Check out and respond to the following videos and readings: 

= Chris Burden "Shoot" video (above). 
"Chris Burden: The body artist" by Roger Ebert, April 8, 1975.
"Marina Abramovic" by Sean O'Hagan, Oct. 2, 2010.
= Chris Burden "Metropolis II" video (below).

In your essay consider: Does art need to be risky to be worth it? What do we mean by risky? A major area of performance art has centered on actions that place the performer in physical danger. What are the benefits of such dangers? What are the risks? Can we mitigate such risks and still get the same charge in the art? Is it necessarily in art for actions to be actual (as Abramovic says, "the knife is real, the blood is real, the emotions are real") instead of simulated? Must the performer actually be in danger? How important to such performances are the stories, the legends they foster? Why do we so value risk in art? Do such performances respond to their times? How, for example, might Burden's performances reference violence in our society or war? Do Chris Burden's intentions become clearer in his later works, like "All the Submarines of the United States of America" (1987) or "Metropolis II" (2011)?


Bus Trip:
= NY bus trip is Oct. 19.

Columbus Day:
= No class next week because of holiday.

Research paper update:
= Discussion classes of week of Oct. 21: Turn in typed, one-page transcript of (part of) the interview.
= Discussion classes of week of Oct. 28: Final research paper due.
Assignments will lose one letter grade for each week they are late. Failure to turn in a paper will result in a zero, which could result in you failing this class.

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