Contract With The Skin: Masochism, Performance Art, and the 1970s

By Kathy O'Dell

Having your self shot. placing out fires together with your naked palms and ft. Biting your personal physique and photographing the marks. stitching your individual mouth close. those possible aberrant acts have been devoted via functionality artists in the course of the Nineteen Seventies. Why may someone do this stuff? What do these types of masochistic performances let us know concerning the social and old context during which they happened? attention-grabbing and accessibly written, agreement with the outside addresses such questions via a reconsideration of those acts in terms of psychoanalytic and criminal options of masochism.

O'Dell argues that the expansion of masochistic functionality through the Nineteen Seventies has to be visible within the context of society's reaction to the Vietnam battle and contemporaneous alterations in theories of agreement. She contends that the dynamic that exists among viewers and performer in the course of those masochistic acts pertains to tensions because of ruptures within the social agreement. certainly, because the conflict in Vietnam waned, so did masochistic functionality, in basic terms to reemerge within the Eighties in terms of the "war on AIDS" and the censorious "culture wars".

Focusing on Nineteen Seventies functionality artists Vito Acconci, Chris Burden, Gina Pane, and collaborators Marina Abramovic/Ulay in addition to people with related sensibilities from the past due Nineteen Eighties onward -- Bob Flanagan, David Wojnarowicz, Simon Leung, Catherine Opie, Ron Athey, Lutz Bacher, and Robby Garfinkel -- O'Dell presents photographic documentation of performances and quotations from interviews with some of the artists. all through, O'Dell asks what we will be able to do in regards to the institutionalized kinds of masochism for which those performances are metaphors.

Contract with the surface is a provocative advisor to thislittle-studied region, and gives new methods of considering functionality artwork and creative production.

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19. Carole S. Vance, "The warfare on Culture," artwork in the USA, September 1989,39,41,43. The terminology of warfare used to be popularized additional by way of the ebook of Richard Bolton, ed. , tradition Wars: records from the hot Controversies within the Arts (New York: New Press, 1992). 20. For an account of this accusation and Wojnarowicz's next lawsuit opposed to Wildmon, see Steven C. Dubin, Arresting pictures: Impolitic paintings and Uncivil activities (London and big apple: Routledge, 1992), 217-19. 21. My description of Transcrypts relies on my attendance on the functionality on the Drawing middle, long island, N. Y. , 1992, and on a mobile interview with Simon Leung, January 1997. 22. Kelly Dennis, "Performance Art," in Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, ed. Michael Kelly (New York Oxford collage Press, forthcoming). 23. Simon Leung, unpublished textual content for Transcrypts: a few Notes among Pricks (1991-92). 24. Simon Leung, mobilephone interview with the writer, January 1997. N O T E S TO C H A P T E R 6 109 25. Ibid. curiously, Leung made the unique lower at in regards to the time that he wrote a highschool time period paper on Chris Burden. 26. Press unlock for notion for Surf Vietnam, Simon Leung's install at Refusalon, San Francisco, Calif. , January-February 1997. 27. Simon Leung, unpublished notes for Warren Piece (in the 70s), P. S. 1, big apple urban, N. Y. , February 1993. 28. Ibid. Leung used to be born in Hong Kong and immigrated to San Jose, California, along with his relatives in 1974. He prefers to be regarded as a "postcolonial" artist. 29. Ibid. 30. For an outline of this phase of the trilogy, see Simon Leung, "Squatting via Violence," records 6 (spring-summer 1995): ninety two. 31. Press unencumber for inspiration for Surf Vietnam. 32. Kelly Dennis encouraged me to consider this idea by way of borders. See her compelling dialogue of functionality artwork within the contexts of framing and limits in "Performance paintings. " 33. A a bit of related setup happened in Chris Burden's Velvet Water (1974), yet simply the videotaped model of Burden confronted the viewers; his actual physique was once situated to the left of the viewers, dealing with hello an analogous path because the viewers. audience could have needed to crane their necks to trap a glimpse of him at the back of the wall of lockers. (And even this can were most unlikely. See chap. 2, n. 29. ) 34. For extra on Opie's paintings, together with this piece, see Liz Kotz, "Erotics of the Image," paintings Papers, November-December 1994,18-19. 35. in line with Ron Athey, the tide of this functionality has been mentioned incorrectly as Excerpted Rites Transformation in a few courses. phone interview with the writer, April 1997. 36. curiously, Catherine Opie has taken images of Carlton's again. For a provocative wondering of Carlton's option to perform scarification, and of Opie's perceptions of Carlton within the photographic courting, see Kotz, "Erotics of the Image," 19. 37. Carlton's HIV prestige used to be no longer introduced on the music, so it's going to look that the viewers member used to be moving his nervousness approximately Athey's avowed HIV prestige to Carlton and, in flip, to the striking prints.

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