Live Art is a contested category, not least because of the historical, disciplinary and institutional ambiguities that the term often tends to conceal. Live Art can be usefully defined as a peculiarly British variation on particular legacies of cultural experimentation – a historically and culturally contingent translation of categories including body art, performance art, time-based art, and endurance art. The recent social and cultural history of the UK has involved specific factors that have crucially influenced the development of Live Art since the late 1970s. These have included issues in national cultural politics relating to sexuality, gender, disability, technology, and cultural policy.
In the past decade there has been a proliferation of festivals of Live Art in the UK and growing support for Live Art in major venues. Nevertheless, while specific artists have been afforded critical essays and monographs, there is a relative absence of scholarly work on Live Art as a historically and culturally specific mode of artistic production. Through essays by leading scholars and critical interviews with influential artists in the sector, Critical Live Art addresses the historical and cultural specificity of contemporary experimental performance, and explores the diversity of practices that are carried out, programmed, read or taught as Live Art.
This book is based on a special issue of Contemporary Theatre Review.
Foreword: Live Art Performance Art Body Art Carolee Schneemann Introduction: Live Art in the UK Dominic Johnson 1. Marginalia: Towards a Historiography of Live Art Dominic Johnson 2. Towards a Prehistory of Live Art in the UK Heike Roms and Rebecca Edwards 3. The Freaks’ Roll Call: Live Art and the Arts Council, 1968-73 Graham Saunders 4. Positive Surrender: An Interview with BREYER P-ORRIDGE Dominic Johnson 5. The Common Turn in Performance Gavin Butt 6. Duckie’s Gay Shame: Critiquing Pride and Selling Shame in Club Performance Catherine Silverstone 7. Frightening the Horses: An Interview with Neil Bartlett Lois Keidan 8. Spokeswomen and Posterpeople: Disability, Advocacy and Live Art Brian Lobel 9. Skin Deep: Female Flesh in UK Live Art since 1999 Gianna Bouchard 10. The Skin of the Theatre: An Interview with Julia Bardsley Dominic Johnson 11. On the Endurance of Theatre in Live Art Lara Shalson 12. Come Closer: Confessions of Intimate Spectators in One to One Performance Deirdre Heddon, Helen Iball and Rachel Zerihan