Conceptual and Performance art

Does art need to be a physical thing, an object made of stone or canvas? Could art be an idea enacted, a process, or an environment inhabited and transformed?

Conceptual and Performance art

Does art need to be a physical thing, an object made of stone or canvas? Could art be an idea enacted, a process, or an environment inhabited and transformed?
Article
Conceptual Art: An Introduction
5:57
Unlock Art: Frank Skinner on Performance Art
This video brought to you by Tate.org.uk Artist Joseph Beuys argued that every human activity counts as art so long as it is a conscious act. What do you think? In this video, comedian and art enthusiast Frank Skinner takes us on a journey through performance art and its origins, from movements like Dada and Surrealism through to challenging oppressive regimes and making a social critique.
Article
Performance Art: An Introduction
Article
Joseph Beuys, Feet Washing and Conceptual Performance
Article
Joseph Beuys, Fat Chair
4:15
Joseph Beuys, Table with Accumulator
Joseph Beuys, Table with Accumulator (Tisch mit Aggregat), 1958-85, Tate Modern, London. Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker
Article
Vito Acconci, Following Piece
3:35
John Baldessari, I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art
John Baldessari, I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art, 1971, lithograph, 22-7/16 x 30-1/16 inches (The Museum of Modern Art), images © John Baldessari, courtesy of the artist Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris & Dr. Steven Zucker
Article
John Baldessari, I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art
1:49
Jannis Kounellis, "Da inventare sul posto (To invent on the spot)"
Watch Jannis Kounellis combine painting music and dance. To learn more about what artists have to say, take our online course, Modern and Contemporary Art, 1945-1989.
4:39
Vito Acconci
This video brought to you by Tate.org.uk Pioneer of performance art Vito Acconci talks about three ground-breaking actions he staged at the Sonnabend Gallery, New York in January 1972. In Seedbed, Transference Zone, and Supply Room, the artist explores the interplay between the psychological and the social, and the overlapping boundaries of interior and exterior. Listen as Acconci, who still lives and works in New York, shares his thoughts on these three performances.
3:36
Juan Downey: Plato Now
This video brought to you by Tate.org.uk Juan Downey (1940-1993) was a Chilean artist whose innovations in video, sculpture and interactive performance encouraged reflection on perception and the self. Drawing together advances in technology with an interest in the rituals of his native Latin America, Downey asks big questions about society, history, information and the environment. In this video, his groundbreaking 1973 performance Plato Now is restaged and invites the audience members to consider their role in the piece.
3:05
Hans Haacke: "A Breed Apart" in South Africa
This video brought to you by Tate.org.uk Since the early 1960s, German-American artist Hans Haacke has been producing controversial work, often seeking to expose systems of power and influence. While some artists might work to engage with local concerns, Haacke brings his art and its topics to a global scale. In this video, he explains his 1978 photographic series A Breed Apart, a group of montages which targets former car manufacturer British Leyland and for its insidious campaigns and actions in apartheid—or racially segregated—South Africa. By juxtaposing slick advertising shots with images of Leyland vehicles “in action,” as he puts it, against the black indigenous population of South Africa, Haacke highlighted the incongruities of the company’s stance. “I believe it is necessary for the public... the voters... to become aware of these interdependencies, and come up with, hopefully, an alternative,” says Haacke. Do you think art and artists have a responsibility to inform and activate the public? Learn more about Hans Haacke and his politically engaged works of art here.
6:38
Hans Haacke, Seurat's 'Les Poseuses' (small version)
Beth Harris, Sal Khan and Steven Zucker discuss art and institutional critique in relation to Hans Haacke's Seurat's 'Les Poseuses' (small version), 1884-1975 from 1975.
Article
Nam June Paik, Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii
by Tina Rivers Ryan
5:10
Cildo Meireles
This video brought to you by Tate.org.uk Brazilian artist Cildo Meireles joins us at Tate Modern for the artist's first UK retrospective. His work is characterised by a high degree of interactivity, as well as recurring motifs of barriers, fencing and mesh. For a special event at the gallery, Meireles invited members of the public to help create the latest version of his work Meshes of Freedom. Listen as he shares his thoughts on the significance of the work, and why art is not just for the eyes.
6:08
An installation by Xu Bing at the British Museum
Discover the secrets behind this shadow-and-light box installation by contemporary artist Xu Bing, inspired by a Chinese painting in the Museum's collection. Xu Bing's installation at the British Museum is 5 meters tall and is made using materials such as hemp fibers, dry plants, corn husks, crumpled paper and debris sourced from sites across London. © Trustees of the British Museum
5:03
Xu Bing, Book from the Sky
Xu Bing, Book from the Sky, c. 1987-91, hand-printed books and ceiling and wall scrolls printed from wood letterpress type; ink on paper, each book, open: 18 1/8 × 20 inches / 46 × 51 cm; each of three ceiling scrolls 38 inches × c. 114 feet 9-7/8 inches / 96.5 × 3500 cm; each wall scroll 9 feet 2-1/4 inches × 39-3/8 inches / 280 × 100 cm (installation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014), collection of the artist, © Xu Bing Speakers: Allison Young and Steven Zucker
Exercise
Xu Bing, Book from the Sky (quiz)
Test your knowledge.
Article
Bill Viola, The Crossing
Article
Marina Abramović, The Artist is Present
2:16
Marina Abramović
Can performance art be re-performed? How can it be collected by the museum? To explore what artists have to say, take our online course, Modern and Contemporary Art, 1945-1989.
1:56
Marina Abramović: What is performance art?
Marina Abramović talks about the difference between theatre and performance art, "performance is real." To learn more about what artists have to say, take our online course, Modern and Contemporary Art, 1945-1989.
1:40
Marina Abramović: The Body as medium
Marina Abramović talks about how she shifted from painting to performance art. To learn more about what artists have to say, take our online course, Modern and Contemporary Art, 1945-1989.