At a Glance
Despite the increasing popularity of performance art in venues ranging from biennials to museum exhibitions, there have been only very few instances of public or private collections purchasing the work to date. On one hand, this is due to the performance artists’ self-concept and notion of the audience’s authentic experience as a key aspect of their artistic intention and, on the other, to the ephemeral nature of the works, which makes them difficult to collect in the first place.
In the past decade, some big museums (including the Tate Modern in London and the Salomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York) have developed models for the purchase of live performances. Formats and modalities of the performance’s re-staging must be negotiated with the artist on an individual basis, while the institutions themselves must develop new curatorial and conservational skills. These include both practice-based and theoretical knowledge. Unfortunately, the comparatively small Swiss museums often lack the necessary capacity.
Aware of these constraints, we have joined forces with Swiss cooperation partners and artists as well as international experts in this research project to build an online compendium that presents the knowledge required in a systematic fashion and showcases typical examples. The project considers itself to be a piece of practice-based foundational research. It combines action-based methods (including the development of artistic model cases) with theory-based analysis topoi that inform the comprehension and reception of performance art.