Performance Artists Talking in the Eighties
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Among the more than 100 artists Montano interviewed from 1979 to 1989 were John Cage, Suzanne Lacy, Faith Ringgold, Dick Higgins, Annie Sprinkle, Allan Kaprow, Meredith Monk, Eric Bogosian, Adrian Piper, Karen Finley, and Kim Jones. Her discussions with them focused on the relationship between art and life, history and memory, the individual and society, and the potential for individual and social change. The interviews highlight complex issues in performance art, including the role of identity in performer-audience relationships and art as an exploration of everyday conventions rather than a demonstration of virtuosity.
montano_a_b_i-xvi_001-538 10/30/00 16:09 Page a A H M A N S O N • M U R P H Y F I N E A R T S I M P R I N T has endowed this imprint to honor the memory of . who for half a century served arts and letters, beauty and learning, in equal measure by shaping with a brilliant devotion those institutions upon which they rely. montano_a_b_i-xvi_001-538 10/30/00 16:09 Page b The publisher gratefully acknowledges the
for Performance Artists Talking, and an ethnographer of her own community of performance artists. The artists collaborate with her on constructing this talking performance as she elicits their stories and documents their fictions. This process raises questions about whose story is recorded, whose voice is created, performed, and documented. The creative authority of the speaking subject is a topic of debate among performance artists and literary and cultural theorists. The central issue is the
Green: Yes, they were hilarious. I learned that some things were great but didn’t produce deep internal change. But the things I actually did were wonderful. I looked at myself closely in a mirror the way a lover would, and so I had to move past stereotypes of what I thought I should look like. It was as if I were making love to an image of myself. There were other exercises, like tasting my vaginal secretion every day for a couple of weeks, touching myself and not orgasming, and so on. I also
more antisexual one in the family. I felt angry at her for telling me that, and I wondered why she did it. Basically, I think that I was naturally curious, joyful, and energized by sex. Montano: Were there times when you felt guilty because of your interest in sex? Montano: montano_a_b_i-xvi_001-538 10/30/00 16:09 Page 125 125 Sex Only when my mother told me those things, and then I would try not to touch myself because I thought that it was bad. I was more angry at her than guilty at what I
accessible sculptures and installations, and to montano_a_b_i-xvi_001-538 10/30/00 16:09 Page 16 16 Introduction working with architects on the design of public gathering spaces. With such pieces as Gang-Bang (), Instant House (), and Adjustable Wall Bra (–), he invited the audience’s more willing participation and active engagement without sacrificing his commentary on “the politics of the body” and the erotics of public and private spaces.26 When asked how she felt about sex