Performance Artists


Performance artists have been impacted greatly by Covid-19. Theaters closing down, gatherings of people being limited indoors and outdoors, as well as lack of funding for the arts have all been playing a role in the struggle for artists. I am writing this blog today to shine a light on and give recognition to performance art examples.

Perhaps by checking these out, a little extra joy will be brought to your day. There are many types of performance art pieces, so I have done my best to separate the ones I will be introducing to you today into different groupings. Before sharing with you some of my favorite performance art pieces and artists, let’s take a moment to talk about the act of performance art itself.

What is Performance Art?

What is Performance Art

If you have never heard of or bared witness to performance art before, allow me to share a brief and loose explanation about what it can at times consist of. If not performance art, we all at least know what art is. Art can be broken down into many categories. Some being:

  1. Visual Arts
    • Painting
    • Drawing
    • Sculpting
  2. Physical Arts
    • Dancing
    • Acting
    • Martial Arts
  3. Musical Arts
    • Operas
    • Classical
    • Concert

Now what takes what is considered to be art and turns it into performance art is when that of an audience in some shape or form is introduced into the equation. For example, a dance artist is considered a performance artist once they have shared their work on a stage in front of an audience. Another example is when a singer shares their music in a concert setting. Performance art, especially nowadays, can also be shared with an audience virtually.

Rather than a dancer sharing their movement in a theater, they can share their work in a video format. The same goes for a musician, instead of sharing live music, they are able to share their music via different platforms on the internet. So, is performance art really art? Of course, it is. The people behind the mask of a performance artist give all of themselves into the preparation and creation of their work.

The purpose of art is for it to be shared, so if anything, performance artists are the epitome of art. All they aspire to do is share their work with an audience. Now that we have clarified to some extent what performance art is, we are ready to explore the different forms performance art can present itself in.

Modern Performance Art

Modern Performance Art

Modern performance art makes me think of dance collectives and companies that are constantly working hard to bring forth new work into society. The dance world is one that is ever-changing, therefore, these performers are constantly displaying new and exciting works. Companies travel all over the world sharing their physical and emotional selves to audiences of all kinds. Covid-19 has been incredibly trying for the dance community as physical contact has been dismissed for the time being. Some dance companies you should check out and show support to are:

  • Vim Vigor, New York City
  • Rubberband Dance Company, Montréal
  • Abraham in Motion, New York City
  • Rosas Danst Rosas, Belgium
  • Batsheva Dance Company, Tel Aviv

Although it is currently difficult to show your support by buying a ticket to a show that may or may not be happening, there are other ways to show it. Donating money is a great way to support the arts as the government systems often fail to do so.

Extreme Performance Art

Extreme Performance Art

Extreme performance art can be extremely exciting at times, and at other times extremely nerve wracking. Some forms of extreme performance art may consist of:

  • Fire twirling, spinning, manipulation
  • Sword Swallowing
  • Tightrope Walking
  • Extreme Biking

I know some may not consider these things to be performing arts, however, I think anyone who dedicates ample amounts of time towards mastering their passion is an artist. Therefore, all of these, in my eyes as well as the eyes of many would consider these to be extreme performing arts.

Controversial Performance Art

Controversial Performance Art

Some controversial performance art pieces may include things such as performance art masturbation and sexual performance art.


First performed in New York City at Sonnabend Gallery by Vito Acconci in 1972, Seedbed was a performance piece like no other. During this performance there was a wooden ramp which Vito laid below, masturbating. In 1972, in the Sonnabend Gallery in New York City, Vito would masturbate for 8 hours a day, speaking his sexual fantasies into a microphone for the viewers to hear. The things he murmured made this a clear sexual performance art piece. Seedbed was later performed again in the year 2005 by Marina Abramović. There is video footage of the performance Seedbed, however, there is not the actual content of the artist themselves masturbating, simply the noise that accompanied the act.

Street Performance Art

Street Performance Art

Street performance art is a popular way for one to share their passion with the passer-by audience. There is some crazy performance art that goes down on the streets, especially in large cities with great tourist populations. Some cities where you will find a lot of street performers are:

  • New York City, New York
  • Montréal, Quebec
  • Toronto, Ontario
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • London, England
  • Edinburgh, Scotland

The beautiful thing about street performance art is that it differs depending on where you are in the world. Street art accommodates, as mentioned, the passer-by audience. What I mean by this is that people unintentionally stumble upon the art being shared. This means that this art in particular calls upon the people that live in a city, rather than bringing people in from all parts of the world.

This is why street performance art differs so greatly from city to city. These performance artists draw their inspiration from their surroundings and cater to the surrounding people. In New York, you will find people singing, playing the guitar, playing the drums or even the piano. In Edinburgh, you will find many Scotsmen playing the bagpipes. Amsterdam will bring more classical instruments into the streets such as the harp. No matter where you go, you will receive a different experience.

Interactive Performance Art

Interactive Performance Art

Interactive performance art is one of my favorite categories, which is why I saved it for last. As an audience member, when I feel welcome to be a part of the performance art piece, I tend to stay more mentally involved as I am being involved physically as well. There are many interactive performance art pieces which I’m sure will be revived once Covid-19 allows us to safely do so.

Fuerza Bruta

Fuerza Bruta

Fuerza Bruta is one of, if not the best performance art pieces I have ever experienced. When I saw it, it was on Off-Broadway in New York, however, it is no longer performed there. You can find this performance in Singapore, Brazil, and Leeuwarden. This performance is a space that welcomes the viewers into a world, unlike any other. I don’t want to give any bit of the experience away, so I won’t say much more. All I can recommend is that if you ever have the chance to see this performance, do not pass up the opportunity. I will remember this performance art piece for the rest of my life. Not only the piece itself but the experience in its entirety.

Sleep No More

Sleep No More

Sleep No More is an evening-length performance that was created by the British company Punchdrunk. This interactive performance art piece is based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth. This performance is special as everyone who goes is given their own individual experience. Having performers lead you through the house, giving you access to rooms other viewers may not see all night. I have only heard great reviews from anyone who has attended this show.

Appreciate Performing Artists

There are so many famous performance art examples we could talk about but simply not enough time. Appreciating the performing arts, and speaking about them highly is extremely important. There is no such thing as bad performance art, it is simply art that you personally do not enjoy. Who’s to say someone else won’t? As artists are often underpaid and underappreciated, it has almost become normal to talk down to artists. Being an artist is an extremely valid and important career and should be supported more by the systems we live in. Without art, we would be nothing. On this note, support performing artists whenever you can in any way you can.

Do you like this article?
no 0


If you want to get in touch with ARTIK editorial team, you can send us a message using the form below. We take a lot of bathroom breaks, so please be patient.

Thank you for your comment

More Articles of Art

Distant Bliss Sculpture

Pharrell Williams, Richard Mille, and Coarse Present Distant Bliss Sculpture

Richard Mille has just presented a sculpture, designed together with the duo coarse from Los...

Famous Large Scale Artworks

Incredible Collection of Large Large Paintings on Canvas of All Times and Styles

Great art is not measurable in length or breadth. From giant sculptures to miniature paintings,...

Michelangelo’s La Pieta

Students Ask Kelly Latimore’s Painting of Jesus To Be Removed From the University

Students of the Catholic University of America created a petition demanding to eradicate the...

Open Your Eyes Exhibition

Javier Calleja and Case Studyo Collaborate Together for the Open Your Eyes Exhibition

Meet the duo's exhibition, open at UNDERGROUND and 3110NZ, that will remind you to Open Your Eyes....


You can do what you like and get paid! Write articles on the topic you like, work at home with well-paid work!

This site uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.