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Performance Art & Painting

When we discuss performance art in comparison to painting, we must first define what performance art is exactly. Some individuals argue that the nature of performance art is such that it defies definition. Others try to define it, like performance art teacher Jack Bowman (1) “The Act is TRUTH. Nothing that was ever recorded is truth. Nothing that was ever said is truth. Only the ACT”. Performance art typically involves a higher level of immediacy between the artist and his or her audience.

Nevertheless, some people define performance art by comparing it to other art forms such as sculpture or painting “Performance art draws freely upon the disciplines of painting, sculpture, theater, dance, music, and sound for its materials and imagery, while freeing the artist from the traditions of those art forms” (Performance 1). Performance art involves everything from the tattoo model who stands like a sculpture at public events to the very popular performance art trio, Blue Man Group, whose members are painted entirely blue.

Despite the unique nature of performance art compared to other disciplines, it does borrow from many other forms of art like painting, sculpture, and photography. This analysis will explore performance art, focusing on different examples of it in contemporary and historical times while also comparing it to painting. A conclusion will address the attributes or essences of performance art which do, indeed, make it distinct from other art forms.

There are many similarities between performance art and painting. Performance artists have the potential to incorporate a variety of materials into the performance, just as painters may use a variety of canvases or even append materials or fabrics onto their paintings. Often performance art incorporates painting into the performance. One such unique blending of the two media occurs in the Jamie O’Reilly written and Michael Smith sung Hello Dali: Fro...

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Performance Art & Painting. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 18:13, May 24, 2020, from