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Endurance art

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Endurance art

Marina Abramović's The Artist is Present, 2010, Museum of Modern Art, New York. Abramović sat opposite museum visitors for eight hours a day, without speaking, for a total of 750 hours.[1]

Endurance art is a kind of performance art involving some form of hardship, such as pain, solitude or exhaustion.[2] Performances that focus on the passage of long periods of time are also known as durational art or durational performances.[3]

Writer Michael Fallon traces the genre to the work of Chris Burden in California in the 1970s.[4] Burden spent five days in a locker in Five-Day Locker Piece (1971), had himself shot in Shoot (1971), and lived for 22 days in a bed in an art gallery in Bed Piece (1972).[5]

Other examples of endurance art include Tehching Hsieh's One Year Performance 1980–1981 (Time Clock Piece), in which for 12 months he punched a time clock every hour, and Art/Life One Year Performance 1983–1984 (Rope Piece), in which Hsieh and Linda Montano spent a year tied to each other by an eight-foot rope.[6]

In The House with the Ocean View (2003), Marina Abramović lived silently for 12 days without food or entertainment on a stage entirely open to the audience.[7] Such is the physical stamina required for some of her work that in 2012 she set up what she called a "boot camp" in Hudson, New York, for participants in her multiple-person performances.[8]


Tehching Hsieh spent a year in this cage in his studio in One Year Performance 1978–1979 (Cage Piece).

See also


  1. ^ Elizabeth Greenwood, "Wait, Why Did That Woman Sit in the MoMA for 750 Hours?", The Atlantic, 2 July 2012.
  2. ^ For artists in endurance performances "[q]uestioning the limits of their bodies," Tatiana A. Koroleva, Subversive Body in Performance Art, ProQuest, 2008, pp. 29, 44–46.
  3. ^ Paul Allain, Jen Harvie, The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Performance, Routledge, 2014, p. 221. Other terms include duration art, live art or time-based art.

    Beth Hoffmann, "The Time of Live Art," in Deirdre Heddon, Jennie Klein (eds.), Histories and Practices of Live Art, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, p. 47.

  4. ^ Michael Fallon, Creating the Future: Art and Los Angeles in the 1970s, Counterpoint, 2014, p. 106: "Burden's performances were so widely observed that they took on a life beyond the artist, helping create a new art genre, 'endurance art' ..."
  5. ^ Emily Anne Kuriyama, "Everything You Need to Know About Chris Burden's Art Through His Greatest Works", Complex, 2 October 2013.
  6. ^ a b Andrew Taylor, "Tehching Hsieh: The artist who took the punches as they came", Sydney Morning Herald, 30 April 2014: "Don't try this endurance art at home. That is Tehching Hsieh's advice to artists inspired to emulate the five year-long performances he began in the late 1970s."
  7. ^ a b Thomas McEvilley, "Performing the Present Tense – A recent piece by Marina Abramovic blended endurance art and Buddhist meditation," Art in America, 91(4), April 2003.
  8. ^ a b c E. C. Feiss, "Endurance Performance: Post-2008", Afterall, 23 May 2012.
  9. ^ Miriam Seidel, "Pioneer Of Endurance Art To Give Lecture", Philadelphia Inquirer, 3 December 1998.

    John Perreault, "Lady Gaga Rejected by Marina Abramović, Plus MoMA Sound", Artopia, 13 September 2013.

  10. ^ Karen Rosenberg, "Provocateur: Marina Abramovic", New York Magazine, 12 December 2005.
  11. ^ a b c Jillian Steinhauer, "Two Weeks Into Performance, Columbia Student Discusses the Weight of Her Mattress", Hyperallergic, 17 September 2014 (citing Jon Kessler).
  12. ^ Paul Allain, Jen Harvie, The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Performance, Routledge, 2014, p. 15.
  13. ^ John Perreault, "Lady Gaga Rejected by Marina Abramović, Plus MoMA Sound", Artopia, 13 September 2013.
  14. ^ a b c Emily Vey Duke, Kevin Rodgers, "Two types of sacred: 1970s endurance art today", C Magazine, 22 June 2005.
  15. ^ Dierdre Heddon, "The Politics of Live Art," in Heddon and Klein 2012, p. 87.
  16. ^ Cindy Adams, "He'll stay awake the longest ever", New York Post, 5 December 2007.
  17. ^ Linda M. Montano, Letters from Linda M. Montano, Routledge, 2012, p. 185.
  18. ^ a b c Deepika Shetty, "Endurance art: Five memorable marathon performances", The Straits Times, 14 August 2013.
  19. ^ a b Karen Gonzalez Rice, "Sexing the Monk: Masculinity and Monastic Discipline in American Endurance Art Circa 1975", College Art Association Annual Conference, Chicago, IL, 12–15 February 2014.
  20. ^ Trout Monfalco, "Endurance Art – Six Hours is Too Long", Art Here and Now, accessed 24 February 2014.
  21. ^ a b Kathy Marks, "Tehching Hsieh: the man who didn't go to bed for a year", The Guardian, 30 April 2014.
  22. ^ John Perrault, "Tehching Hsieh: Caged Fury", Artopia, 1 February 2009.
  23. ^ "Sorrow on repeat: Ragnar Kjartansson on endurance art", CBC, 20 January 2015; "Ragnar Kjartansson and The National A Lot of Sorrow ", Luhring Augustine.
  24. ^ Roberta Smith, "In a Mattress, a Lever for Art and Political Protest", The New York Times, 22 September 2014.
  25. ^ Hentyle Yapp, Verona Leung, "Revisiting performance art of the 1990s and the politics of meditation", Leap, 8 August 2013.

Further reading

  • Brown, Sierra. "Discover Endurance Art," California State University, Long Beach, 2008 (report on an exhibition).
  • Kafka, Franz. "A Hunger Artist", 1922.
  • Montano, Linda M. "Endurance Then and Now," Letters from Linda M. Montano, Routledge, 2012, p. 123ff.
  • O’Brien, Martin. "Performing Chronic: Chronic illness and endurance art", Performance Research, 26 September 2014, pp. 54–63.
  • von Ah, André. "Performance Art: A Bit of History, Examples and a Fast Dictionary", The Huffington Post, 9 November 2013.
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