Works of Artists in the huge area of Destruction and Taboo in Performance

This personal experience performed for others was a feature of much of what came to be known as Body Art. These performances often involved self-mutilation or invited the audience to interact with the artist’s body, often with the opportunity to choose a violent action. 

Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece 1964 saw the artist sitting motionless on the floor while the audience were invited to cut away a part of her clothing until she was naked: 

Instead of giving the audience what the artist chooses to give, the artist gives what the audience chooses to take. That is to say, you cut and take whatever part you want; that was my feeling about its purpose. I went onto the stage wearing the best suit I had. To think that it would be OK to use the cheapest clothes because it was going to be cut anyway would be wrong; it’s against my intentions.

The audience was quiet and still, and I felt that everyone was holding their breath. While I was doing it, I was staring into space. I felt kind of like I was praying. I also felt that I was willingly sacrificing myself.


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