But Is It Art?
Performance art! Does it have a place?
Is performance art insanity masquerading as genius or genius masquerading as an insane art form?
I recently spent a rainy Saturday at Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) watching an insane man (Myer Taub as the deranged ghost of Clement Greenburg), running around the gallery with an empty frame, framing everything he came across and then yelling "ART!" This went on, until an equally insane woman (Patricia Boyer as Florence) who looked a lot like a crazed cat-lady joined him screaming out art history quotes and reading from letters relating to the discipline.
Florence began as an exploratory, performance project and an experimental intervention in 2010 at the Joubert Park and Johannesburg Art Gallery spaces. As a performance project now realised at Goethe on Main, the work continues to draw heavily on the life of the founder of the Johannesburg Art Gallery, Florence Phillips, drawing links between contemporary inner city art spaces, marginality and re-imagined historical narratives.
Like any performance art piece worth its salt, Taub's Florence consisted of insanity and the obligatory amount of nudity thrown into the mix. The Florence performances were split between the JAG space and the Goethe on Main space. While this interplay of performance, insanity, and (perhaps) genius went on I kept asking myself one question: "But, is this art?" Sure it might seem deep to the point of boundless confusion, but when is a performance art piece a load of bollocks and when is it genius?
It's around this point that I start questioning if the visuals we see at clubs while shaking our tail-feathers can also be considered forms of performance art? Would hinxxx and Pixel surgeon be considered performance artists? If so, are the night spots of today yesterday's galleries? Has the space of the space-specific performance artist transformed? If so where is performance art the future bound? Think about that the next time you decide to check out a performance piece at your favourite gallery or when you're cutting up the dance floor at a gig and there's someone dishing out rhythmic eye-candy.