At a moment when performance art and performance generally are at the center of the international art world, Frazer Ward offers us insightful readings of major performance pieces by the likes of Acconci, Burden, Abramovi , and Hsieh, and confronts the twisting and troubled relationship that performance art has had with the spectator and the public sphere. Ward contends that the ethical challenges with which performance art confronts its viewers speak to the reimagining of the audience, in terms that suggest the collapse of notions like “public” and “community.”
A thoughtful, even urgent discussion of the relationship between art and the audience that will appeal to a broad range of art historians, artists, and others interested in constructions of the public sphere.
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FRAZER WARD is an associate professor of art history at Smith College. His work appears widely in books, catalogs, and journals.Review:
“No Innocent Bystanders reorients our understanding of some of the most galvanizing and generative performance works of the 1970s. In prose that is both refreshingly direct and finely nuanced, Frazer Ward reads these works as explorations of the limit conditions of publicness and of community. The argument couldn't be more timely.” (Judith Rodenbeck, author of Radical Prototypes: Allan Kaprow and the Invention of Happenings)
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