Instructor: Karen Gonzalez Rice
Classes: Thursdays: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
February 1, 8, 15, 22 & March 1
Fee: $125 members/ $150 non-members
Course Overview: This course will explore the medium of performance art, a new mode of art-making that developed in response to World War II. By using the body as a material of art, peformance artists like Yoko Ono, Matthew Barney, and Marina Abramovic have challenged traditional distinctions between subject and object, artist and artwork, and art and life – sometimes to the confusion of their audiences. In the five sessions of this course, we will grapple with the challenges of performance art by examining its history, theories, and ethics. We will trace the international origins of this medium, from the Japanese Gutai group and the Happenings of the 1960s New York art scene to the Viennese Action artists and the transnational artists’ collective Fluxus. With special attention to how performance artists themselves theorized their own work in their writing and interviews, we will consider how present-day artists such as Kent Monkman, Linda Montano, Cindy Sherman, and Cassils examine diverse social and political issues—racial inequalities, transgender identity, indigenous rights, feminism, and many others—through the medium of performance.
Suggested Reading: The Artist’s Body by Tracey Warr will provide an illustrated guide to important performances of the 20th and 21st centuries. Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art, edited by Kristine Stiles and Peter Selz, is also recommended as an excellent source for artists’ writings. In each session, expect lively discussion of the radical, surprising, and sometimes explicit work of performance artists.
Weekly class will be held in the auditorium of the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, 625 Williams Street, New London. Advanced reservations are required for the series: please contact the Education Department at 860-443-2545 x2110 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karen Gonzalez Rice is Sue & Eugene Mercy Associate Professor of Art History at Connecticut College, where she teaches courses on modern and contemporary visual art. In 2016, Gonzalez Rice published Long Suffering: American Endurance Art as Prophetic Witness with the University of Michigan Press series Theater: Theory/Text/Performance. The book explores the intersection of twentieth-century American avant-garde performance art with traditions of prophetic religious discourse in the United States. Her next project, Forming the Habit: Monastic Commitment in Contemporary Art, traces representations of monasticism in American popular visual culture and in avant-garde performance art in the 1970s. Gonzalez Rice joined Connecticut College in 2011. She received her Ph.D. from Duke University’s Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies in 2010.