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Styles & Periods
Body Art

Body art, a form of Performance art, includes the use of the artist’s body. Often shocking or disturbing in nature, these pieces of art are immediate and intimate for both the viewer and the artist, eliminating the anonymity of both participants. In such cases the art is performed in a public space, such as a gallery, or is presented through photography and video that was produced in private. Ritual and the presence of pain are often components of Body art. Vito Acconci, perhaps one of the best-known artists working within the realm of his own body as subject, introduced elements of autoeroticism into his long performances in galleries. The ultimate in pain as a subject was accomplished by Chris Burden, who crucified himself on a Volkswagen; he was also intentionally shot in the arm by an assistant and splashed with burning alcohol. Bruce Nauman has presented a more playful side to Body art, with his photographs of himself spewing water as a fountain.


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