Accessibility statement

Period Band C
Curatorial Rating: 2

Action/Re-action: Live Art, Performance & Participation

 Tutor: Cadence Kinsey


This module will explore the histories of live art in Europe, the U.S. and Japan from Dada and Futurist theatre to digitally mediated performance. Against the object-based character of formalist aesthetics, and using non-traditional techniques and technologies, we will consider works that challenge the border of art and non-art with an emphasis on subversive practices intended to critique the structures of art production and display and/or everyday life. In this module we will explore key art historical and theoretical concepts such as ‘performance’, ‘theatre’ and ‘the event’, alongside practical iterations through Action Painting, Fluxus, Gutai, Viennese Actionism, Body Art and contemporary practices.


By the end of the module, students should have acquired:

  • be familiar with the histories and development of live art and performance during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries
  • understand the historic contexts in which these practices emerged
  • be able to analyse the formal strategies used by artists working with performance
  • understand the key critical frameworks through which these practices have been understood
  • understand how these practices have put pressure on the category ‘art’ and traditional methods of display

Preliminary Reading

  • Stephen. C. Foster, ‘Event Structures and Art Situations’ in Event arts and art Events (Ann Arbor, 1998)
  • Harold Rosenberg, ‘The American Action Painters’ in H. Rosenberg, Tradition of the New (1959)
  • Brian O’Doherty, ‘The eye and the spectator’ in Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space, Berkeley Los Angeles and London, University of California Press, 1976
  • Goldberg, Roselee, Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present (2001)
  • Jones, Amelia, Body Art: Performing the Subject (1998)

Performance is Alive

Module code HOA00066I