Body Art: Performing the Subject
The book forms a comprehensive cartography of Body Art, here largely discussed as a U.S. and European phenomenon of the 1960s/70s and 1990s. Body Art is described as a set of performative practices which enact subjects in passionate and convulsive relationships and thus exacerbate, perform and/or negotiate the dislocating effects of social and private experience in the late capitalist, postcolonial Western world. In doing so Body Arts articulates and reflects what is understood as the most profound transformation constitutive of postmodernism: the dislocation or decentering of the Cartesian subject of modernism. rnrnJones: “Body art is specifically antiformalist in impulse, opening up the circuits of desire informing artistic production and reception. Works that involve the artist’s enactment of her or his body in all of its sexual, racial, and other particularities and overtly solicit spectatorial desires unhinge the very deep structures and assumptions embedded in the formalist model of art evaluation. (…) By exaggeratedly performing the sexual, gender, ethnic, or other particularities of this body/self, the feminist or otherwise nonnormative body artist (…) aggressively explodes the myths and disinterestedness and universality that authorize these conventional modes of evaluation.”rnrnThe book explores artists’ practices by artists such as Vito Acconci, Hannah Wilke, Laurie Anderson, Orlan, Maureen Connor, Lyle Ashton Harris, Laura Aguilar or Bob Flanagan. Embracing a mix of methodologies and perspectives including feminism, queer theory, philosophy, psychoanalysis and literary theory, it provides historical insight and context that rethinks the parameters of postmodern culture.
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