iTunes-7-Icon-big rss

Home » review » Currently Reading:

The 10 most shocking performance artworks ever

January 11, 2014 review No Comments

The Guardian Recently came up with its, “10 most shocking performance artworks ever” and here they are:

1 The vanishing Dutchman
His was the ultimate disappearing act 30th Apr 2006
No one will ever know if Bas Jan Ader expected to die in his performance In Search of the Miraculous. In 1975, the Dutchman set out from Cape Cod in a small sailing boat to cross the Atlantic. This was part of an artwork that also included a series of pictures of bland Los Angeles scenes. It was as if he sailed out to find something deeper than freeways and fast food. His broken boat was found 150 miles off the coast of Ireland. It was empty !

2 Marina and the star of fire
Today she hangs out with Lady Gaga but in 1974 the Belgrade-born, New York-based artist Marina Abramovic nearly joined Bas Jan Ader as a martyr to the imagination. In Rhythm 5, she placed on the ground a large, five-pointed wooden star, an echo of the communist red star, soaked it in petrol and lit it. As it blazed, she threw in bits of toenail, fingernail and hair, which she cut off in front of a watching audience. Then she jumped through the flames into the centre. She did not know the fire had sucked up all the oxygen and, since the audience couldn’t see her clearly for smoke, it took several moments for them to realise she was unconscious. Abramovic was rescued just in time and rushed to hospital.

3 Shot by a rifle, nailed to a car Chris Burden
In 1971, young American artist Chris Burden stood still while a friend aimed a rifle and shot him in the arm. The performance was caught on video. It was a violent time, with war in Vietnam and riots in US cities. Burden wore a T-shirt and jeans and, after being shot, clutched his arm, looking stunned even though he planned it all. He recovered and went on to have himself nailed to a Volkswagen.

4 The hidden masturbator
In his 1972 performance Seedbed, American artist Vito Acconci constructed a false floor in a New York art gallery and hid beneath it. Speakers relayed his voice into the gallery. As visitors walked over the wooden floor, they heard him murmuring sexual fantasies about them while masturbating, thereby evoking the paranoia of the Nixon era.

5 The castration myth
In attacking his own genitals, Pyotr Pavlensky may have been inspired by inaccurate stories about Austrian artist Rudolf Schwarzkogler. When he died in 1969, it was widely believed he had killed himself by cutting off his own penis. The works of this Vienna actionist do include images of castration, but they were mocked up. So Schwarzkogler’s reputation as the ultimate performance artist is somewhat exaggerated. He actually died after falling from a window.

6 Surgeon, remake me
In The Reincarnation of Saint Orlan, a project that started in 1990, the French artist Orlan has altered herself with a series of operations. Through plastic surgery, she aims to have a completely new appearance based on bits of western paintings that define the ideal of beauty, including Botticelli’s Venus and the Mona Lisa. She calls the project “a struggle against the innate”.

7 Equal rights for cyborgs
In retrospect, Orlan’s operations look less like feminist body art than the beginning of a cultural obsession with cyborgs and post-human transformations. Enter the Catalan-based Neil Harbisson, who, having been born unable to see colours, has been implanted with a device to “hear” them. In 2004, this “eyeborg” extension was allowed to feature on his passport photo, a milestone in cyborg rights. He is the founder of the Cyborg Foundation.

8 Yoko stripped with scissors
Yoko Ono performs Cut Piece in 1965 at Carnegie Hall, New York. Photograph: Minoru Niizuma/Yoko Ono
In Cut Piece, an early piece of feminist art first staged in 1964, Yoko Ono knelt on the ground and laid down a pair of scissors. The audience were invited to come forward and cut off any piece of her clothing. It started politely but became more and more threatening as her clothes were reduced to rags and she kneeled in her underwear.

9 A bath in blood
Hermann Nitsch was part of the Vienna actionist movement that set out to shock Austria with gory images of violence, blood and apparent self-torture. His grotesque Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk is, however, the Orgiastic Mysteries Theatre, in which crowds of young people bathe in blood and conduct animal sacrifice at rituals in his castle. The last such rite happened in 1998.

Testicles for tea
In 2012, Japanese artist Mao Sugiyama had his genitals surgically removed, to raise awareness of asexual rights. After keeping them in the fridge for a while, he cooked them and served his friends a meal of steaming hot bollocks. But was it art? Hard to say without actually tasting them.

Front Image: Area V5 by Louis Philippe Demers evokes the physical unease humans experience with robotic agents. Photograph: Patrick Bolger/Science Gallery

Do you agree ? if not post yours below .

PinExt The 10 most shocking performance artworks ever


Paul’s ART STUFF on a train # 64: ’28 Years and 1.1’

July 22, 2014

Paul’s ART STUFF on a train # 64: ’28 Years and 1.1’

I recently came across a copy of Art Monthly for July 1986. The magazine doesn’t look so different from the July 2014 issue, and – like that – includes listings of some 200 forthcoming shows….

ART NEWS: Become part of Nick Gentry’s incredible collaborative artwork.

July 21, 2014

ART NEWS: Become part of Nick Gentry’s incredible collaborative artwork.

Get Involved in a new art work from Nick Gentry

WATCH: Ann-Kristin Abel’s: Thought Harvester #PostDigitalWeekend @DegreeArt

July 19, 2014

WATCH: Ann-Kristin Abel’s: Thought Harvester #PostDigitalWeekend @DegreeArt

Thought Harvester by Ann-Kristin Abel The human mind is a thought factory, producing around 70.000 thoughts per day. Due to the complexity of the brain and the importance of our unconscious mind for the creative process we are currently unable to tap the full potential of the human mind. Imagine a device that could physically [...]

PARTY : Broken Fingaz SEX PICNIC 2014 Tonight Friday18th July @omfg_NOWAY

July 18, 2014

PARTY : Broken Fingaz  SEX PICNIC 2014  Tonight Friday18th July @omfg_NOWAY


#PostDigitalWeekend This Weekend: Join the Discussion 19-20th July 2014

July 17, 2014

#PostDigitalWeekend This Weekend: Join the Discussion 19-20th July 2014

Join us for #PostDigitalWeekend as @DegreeArt takeover FAD to explore the intersection at which our physical and virtual realities collide.

ART OPENING: Group Show ‘Wanderings’ Thursday 17th July 2014 #DontMiss

July 17, 2014

ART OPENING: Group Show ‘Wanderings’  Thursday 17th July 2014 #DontMiss

An exploration of cultural, municipal and institutional boundaries and correlations, Wanderings documents the varying approaches to city life of a select group of emerging European and Latin American artists.

NEW YORK ART NEWS: See 23 Video Portraits of Lady Gaga

July 16, 2014

NEW YORK ART NEWS: See 23 Video Portraits of Lady Gaga

see 23 portraits of Lady Gaga



To receive daily news on Art Openings, Art Opportunities, Competitions and much more just give us your email below - Its that EASY