Past Lives: Performance Art through the Camera

Performance art emerged as early as the 1910s, with Futurist and Dada productions, and gained wider recognition post-World War II alongside the rise of conceptual art. Unlike traditional art forms, performance does not rely on a specific medium or format; rather, artists use the movement of their bodies and environment to engage viewers. Although typically presented live, performances are captured through photos and videos, preserving the lifespan of the work for a broader audience. Beyond its documentary function, these visual recordings also produce autonomous works of art, such as those on view.

Past Lives: Performance Art through the Camera features a selection of influential performance artworks from the 1980s to the early 2000s. In showcasing these works from the Museum’s holdings, the exhibition underscores the significance of performance as a fine art form, while also highlighting the strength of Asian and Asian-American artists in the field.

Organized by the Norton Museum of Art.

Support for this exhibition was provided by the William and Sarah Ross Soter Photography Fund, the Michael M. Rea Endowment for Special Exhibitions, and the Gioconda and Joseph King Endowment for Exhibitions.