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Media and Performance Art

See what happens when artists perform—live or on-camera—and incorporate themselves and their audience into their work.

Tools & Tips:

Expanded Choreography

Performing for the Camera

Artists break the molds of video and film, and broaden the boundaries of art.

Participation and Audience Involvement

Without viewers playing a part, the work of these artists would be incomplete.

Performing Identities

Artists ask, Who am I? Who are you? and demonstrate that the answers are not so simple.

Expanded Choreography

See what happens when dance comes off of the stage and into the public arena.

Choreographers and dancers have long been collaborating with artists to create stage settings, props, and costuming that help to bring their performances to life. Among some of these better-known creative partnerships were those pioneered by Serge Diaghilev, the founder and director of the Paris-based Ballets Russes (1909–29), who commissioned work from artists like Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Giorgio de Chirico. The revolutionary modern dancer and choreographer Martha Graham was known not only for her own work but also for her collaborations with some of the leading artists of her time, including the sculptor and designer Isamu Noguchi. Later, her student Merce Cunningham went on to make his own mark on dance, and to give the many artists who designed the sets and costumes for his pieces uncommonly wide latitude.

By the early 1960s, the increasingly porous border between visual art and dance was breached—both by dancers who were developing choreography that crossed into performance art, installation, and sculpture and by artists trained in and inspired by dance, who developed work in a range of mediums. Through such interdisciplinary presentations, they broadened the possibilities for both dance and visual art. Building upon the paths forged by their predecessors, contemporary dancers and artists alike continue to take dance off of the stage into art galleries, museums, and the street, demonstrating that the body in motion is a powerfully expressive artistic vehicle.

To explore more, click on each artwork thumbnail, then click again on the larger image that appears in the box above.

The art of creating and arranging dances or ballets; a work created by this art. A person who creates choreography is called a choreographer.

One who produces a three-dimensional work of art using any of a variety of means, including carving wood, chiseling stone, casting or welding metal, molding clay or wax, or assembling materials.

A three-dimensional work of art made by a variety of means, including carving wood, chiseling stone, casting or welding metal, molding clay or wax, or assembling materials.

A person who conceives and gives form to objects used in everyday life.

The context or environment in which a situation occurs.

A term that emerged in the 1960s to describe a diverse range of live presentations by artists, including actions, movements, gestures, and choreography. Performance art is often preceded by, includes, or is later represented through various forms of video, photography, objects, written documentation, or oral and physical transmission.

Modern can mean related to current times, but it can also indicate a relationship to a particular set of ideas that, at the time of their development, were new or even experimental.

The materials used to create a work of art, and the categorization of art based on the materials used (for example, painting [or more specifically, watercolor], drawing, sculpture).

A form of art, developed in the late 1950s, which involves the creation of an enveloping aesthetic or sensory experience in a particular environment, often inviting active engagement or immersion by the spectator.

What a figure is wearing.