The Explicit Body in Performance interrogates the avant-garde precedents and theoretical terrain that combined to produce feminist performance art. Among the many artists discussed are: * Carolle Schneemann * Annie Sprinkle * Karen Finley * Robbie McCauley * Ana Mendieta * Ann Magnuson * Sandra Bernhard * Spiderwoman Rebecca Schneider tackles topics ranging across the 'post-porn modernist movement', New Right censorship, commodity fetishism, perspectival vision, and primitivism. Employing diverse critical theories from Benjamin to Lacan to postcolonial and queer theory, Schneider analyses artistic and pop cultural depictions of the explicit body in late commodity capitalism. The Explicit Body in Performance is complemented by extensive photographic illustrations and artistic productions of postmodern feminist practitioners. The book is a fascinating exploration of how these artists have wrestled with the representational structures of desire.
An Exquisite Performance
By "skawest" - December 16, 2000
A great survey of the 1980s performance art scene, the era of Annie Sprinkle, Karen Finley, Carolee Schneeman, even Sandra Bernhard and RuPaul. Scheider's book is both personally compelling and theoretically rich. She was obviously in New York City for the 80s, catching the downtown performances that launched a thousand Jesse Helms speeches. Wonderful observations from the front line and the front row, a perspective too often missing from academic works about performance. Schneider is also an expert guide through the theoretical precedents for the body as stage; the book offers original and relevant readings of Walter Benjamin, Judith Butler, and Jaques Lacan. Explicit Body is illustrated with a terrific photographs, invaluable documentation of a vital and dynamic period. (The juxtaposition of Cindy Sherman's gross-out work with a Gianfranco Ferre advertisement had me laughing out loud.) Highly recommended for anyone interested in the performative side of gender studies, commodity... read more
Brilliant combo of theory and practice
By Richard Burt - February 3, 2001
What I love most about this brilliant, original work is the way Schneider manages to think beyond the usual programmatic feminist notions that have become so dated, even reactionary, and yet do so without sacrificing her passionately held feminist politiccs. It really is a tour de force, and will interst anyone intersted in the representation of the female nude in art, pornography, and in theatrical performance.
By A Customer - December 10, 2000
Schneider's topic is both controversial and compelling, and for that I applaud her efforts. Her strongest areas of analysis and discussion in "The Explicit Body in Performance" include performance vs. pornography and the artists Carolee Schneeman and Annie Sprinkle. Schneider is far less effective in examining the tenuous topic of race and the explicit body in performance--and perhaps understandably so. Race is a difficult area to tackle on its own, and much moreso when it is paired with the notion of the explicit, racially-marked body in performance. Much stronger analyses of this nature do exist--coming from such performance theorists and cultural critics as Coco Fusco and bell hooks. Still, "The Explicit Body in Performance" is a book worth reading, particularly for avid fans, students, and scholars of women's performance art.
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