Curated by Craig Krull
The Happenings of the 1950s began a movement of staged activities in art in which the photograph played an integral role. Performance and conceptual artists in the 1960s and 1970s often orchestrated events specifically for the camera, events as art intended to occur only once at a given moment in time. The resulting images then became documentary records of the events, and in some cases, art objects in themselves.
Curated by Craig Krull, Action/Performance and the Photograph is an ambitious attempt to follow the evolving role of the photograph in these movements. “This photographic perspective,” Krull writes in his introduction to the catalogue for the exhibition, “considers the inherent technical qualities of the camera, its ability to stop or manipulate time, the question of truth vs. fiction, the symbolic or abstract quality of the still image, the act of photography as an action in itself, and the myriad conceptual differences that lie between catching action and orchestrating it for the camera.”
The exhibition includes images with or by several pioneering European artists, including Yves Klein’s famous Leap Into the Void and Joseph Beuys, I like America and America Likes Me. Various interpretations of the female nude are addressed in works including Carolee Schneemann, Up to and Including Her Limits; Hannah Wilke, So Help Me Hannah; and Marcel Duchamp, The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors (Chess Game at Pasadena Art Museum). Sculpture and performance within the landscape are explored in pieces such as Andy Goldsworthy, Hazel Stick Throws. Also included are works by Jean Tinguely, Christo, Vito Acconci, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, Allan Kaprow, Eleanor Antin, Chris Burden, Lynda Benglis, Anslem Kiefer, and the Viennese Actionists (Gunther Brus, Hermann Nitsch, and Rudolph Schwarzkogler), among many others. Seen together, the work of these artists—whose attitudes toward the photograph are as varied as their artistic approaches—represents yet another example of the pivotal role photography played in the development of contemporary art in all of its many forms, and provides a fascinating sketch of the evolution of the Happening, Performance, Conceptual and related movements.
NUMBER OF WORKS: 50 (many works contain multiple prints)
TOUR DATES: August 1995 - May 2007
PUBLICATION: Exhibition Catalogue
Contemporary Art Museum | St. Louis, MO
The Hatton Gallery | Newcastle University | Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Reese Bullen Gallery | Humboldt State University | Arcata, CA
Art Gallery | Mount Saint Vincent University | Halifax, Nova Scotia
Allen Memorial Art Museum | Oberlin College | Oberlin, OH
Presentation House Gallery | North Vancouver, BC
Ulrich Museum | Wichita, KS
The New York Times, 2000
The Los Angeles Times, 1993