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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.

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Performing Identities

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.

Widespread social upheavals were unfolding around the world in the 1960s and 1970s. In the United States and Europe, younger generations were rebelling against what they saw as the conservatism of their elders, their governments, and society as a whole. Such historically marginalized groups as people of color, women, and LGBTQ-identified people were also increasingly making their voices heard, as they exposed the rampant and deep-seated discrimination against them and demanded an equal place within society. At the center of these protests was identity. In agitating for their civil rights and pushing for more social advancements, people also sought to break down the stereotypes associated with qualities like skin color, gender, sexual orientation, and socio-economic class while demonstrating that identity is more complex and less fixed than society often allows for.

Many artists have made work centered upon identity. Often, they are driven by their own experiences of discrimination, or by their personal struggles to come to terms with who they are or to find a place or community in which they feel comfortable. They have examined such issues as the assumption of privilege accorded to whiteness and maleness, forms of sexuality seen as taboo by society, and the subtle and overt ways in which societal expectations can undermine a woman’s ability to define herself on her own terms. But no matter how personal, their work prompts viewers to think about the factors—both innate and external—that shape who we are and to realize that identity is always comprised of much more than meets the eye.

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

Standardized and oversimplified assumptions about specific social groups.