The art of fear: the fear of art

O'Neill, Mary and Bartram, Angela (2010) The art of fear: the fear of art. In: Politics of Fear; Fear of Politics: 5th International Interdisciplinary Conference , 15th September 2010, Brighton University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Creativity by definition produces something new. In the 20th century this newness was characterised by an art practice that turned on cultural institutions and rather than bolstering their entitlement to power critiqued and in many cases abandoned them. This was an anti taste movement born out of the reactions to a society that had produced major conflicts, for example, the first and second world wars. However, rather than being motivated by negativity the intention was often to revive what was perceived by many of the protagonists as a decadent and meaningless art world. Overwhelmingly, this new enterprise alienated an audience comfortable with art forms that did not confront or disappoint their expectation. The alienation produced a response that shifted from amusement or disinterest to hostility, all to often discussed in the media in term of financial waste. The role of the artist shifted from the romantic to the ousted and reviled individual pushed to the margins of culture and society. Nowhere is this lack of understanding more obvious that in the reaction of audiences to live performance art. The reaction is often that of disavowal, of denying that the experience is more than merely watching, but demands an engagement that deprives the audience of the disassociation that a purely aesthetic experience of art allows. The avant-garde are no longer seen as valuable, and the artist who performs becomes a cultural waste of time. This is apparent in how live events are predominantly scheduled - beyond the accepted domain of exhibiting in established platforms and venues, performance is increasing the preserve of the marginalised and ‘other’ and exists on the fringe, popping up as events for the specifically interested audience who seek it out and want to experience the transient otherness that it offers.
This paper will discuss the work of performance artists including Guillermo Gomez-Pena and Coco Fusco who threaten the audience by highlighting forms of discrimination hidden in notion of the exotic and the complicity of cultural institutions in practices such as anthropology and ethnography, and Hugo Ball, whose early performance attempt to find a language of communication that transcended national boundaries

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information:Creativity by definition produces something new. In the 20th century this newness was characterised by an art practice that turned on cultural institutions and rather than bolstering their entitlement to power critiqued and in many cases abandoned them. This was an anti taste movement born out of the reactions to a society that had produced major conflicts, for example, the first and second world wars. However, rather than being motivated by negativity the intention was often to revive what was perceived by many of the protagonists as a decadent and meaningless art world. Overwhelmingly, this new enterprise alienated an audience comfortable with art forms that did not confront or disappoint their expectation. The alienation produced a response that shifted from amusement or disinterest to hostility, all to often discussed in the media in term of financial waste. The role of the artist shifted from the romantic to the ousted and reviled individual pushed to the margins of culture and society. Nowhere is this lack of understanding more obvious that in the reaction of audiences to live performance art. The reaction is often that of disavowal, of denying that the experience is more than merely watching, but demands an engagement that deprives the audience of the disassociation that a purely aesthetic experience of art allows. The avant-garde are no longer seen as valuable, and the artist who performs becomes a cultural waste of time. This is apparent in how live events are predominantly scheduled - beyond the accepted domain of exhibiting in established platforms and venues, performance is increasing the preserve of the marginalised and ‘other’ and exists on the fringe, popping up as events for the specifically interested audience who seek it out and want to experience the transient otherness that it offers. This paper will discuss the work of performance artists including Guillermo Gomez-Pena and Coco Fusco who threaten the audience by highlighting forms of discrimination hidden in notion of the exotic and the complicity of cultural institutions in practices such as anthropology and ethnography, and Hugo Ball, whose early performance attempt to find a language of communication that transcended national boundaries
Keywords:performance, Live Art, Performance art and ethics, Ethics, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Coco Fusco, Hugo Ball, Creativity, art and war, audience alienation, audience reception, audience response
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
W Creative Arts and Design > W310 Musicianship/Performance studies
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Art & Design
ID Code:6183
Deposited By: Mary O'Neill
Deposited On:19 Sep 2012 19:36
Last Modified:11 Aug 2014 17:07

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