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The Art of Living: An Oral History of Performance Art

The Art of Living: An Oral History of Performance Art Short Reviews Review by Sean F. Edgecomb BOOK REVIEWED: Dominic Johnson, The Art of Living: An Oral History of Performance Art. London and New York: Palgrave, 2015. T he Art of Living: An Oral History of Performance and Art is a hybrid of oral history, performance ethnography, and scholarly critique. It focuses on a dozen performance artists working from the last quarter of the twentieth century to the present. The interviews are accompanied by striking period photos of each artist in performance. By no means is this volume a comprehensive study of performance art, nor does it intend to be. Instead, it considers how each artist has built a reputation around what Johnson deems “the work of a lifetime.” Johnson does not trace an artist’s development toward a masterwork, but rather how the study of the artist’s lifetime and a variety of works blur the boundaries between the artist and the art. These are individuals who live their art and who demonstrate “a history of the art of living.” The greatest strength of this volume is found in the intimate and introspective self-critiques that Johnson teases out from individual subjects. He succeeds in creating an archive that traces http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art MIT Press

The Art of Living: An Oral History of Performance Art

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Publisher
MIT Press
Copyright
© 2017 Performing Arts Journal, Inc.
Subject
Books & Company
ISSN
1520-281X
eISSN
1537-9477
DOI
10.1162/PAJJ_r_00370
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Short Reviews Review by Sean F. Edgecomb BOOK REVIEWED: Dominic Johnson, The Art of Living: An Oral History of Performance Art. London and New York: Palgrave, 2015. T he Art of Living: An Oral History of Performance and Art is a hybrid of oral history, performance ethnography, and scholarly critique. It focuses on a dozen performance artists working from the last quarter of the twentieth century to the present. The interviews are accompanied by striking period photos of each artist in performance. By no means is this volume a comprehensive study of performance art, nor does it intend to be. Instead, it considers how each artist has built a reputation around what Johnson deems “the work of a lifetime.” Johnson does not trace an artist’s development toward a masterwork, but rather how the study of the artist’s lifetime and a variety of works blur the boundaries between the artist and the art. These are individuals who live their art and who demonstrate “a history of the art of living.” The greatest strength of this volume is found in the intimate and introspective self-critiques that Johnson teases out from individual subjects. He succeeds in creating an archive that traces

Journal

PAJ: A Journal of Performance and ArtMIT Press

Published: May 1, 2017

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