The Ten Best Contemporary Performance Artists – Part 1
Interactive art has never been so popular, in particular performance art. And although some of these artists are not household names, they are famous for their performances in the art world. Performance artists ply their trade in many different ways and on different mediums, here are ten of the very best contemporary performance artists.
This Chinese Canadian, specializes in mixed media work all in monochrome. Terence Koh adds humor to his work even though many of his pieces have a ritualistic theme to them. He prefers wearing white to provide a luminous aura to his performances, and most of his work can be seen on the internet.
Wafaa Bilal is probably best known for his 3rdi project, which was a twelve month study on surveillance. The Iraqi-American had a camera surgically mounted on the back of his head that had a live feed. Another outrageous piece was Counting, when Bilal had five thousand red ink dots carved into his back, each one represented an American casualty in the war of Iraq.
The epic scale of the work that Francis Alys takes on is quite staggering. His piece Faith Moves Mountains, Alys engaged five hundred volunteers to assist him in moving a giant sand dune Peru a couple of inches to the left. The ethos of his work is based around paseos (walks that resist the subjection of common space).
Some of his other enterprises have been to trail green paint behind him whilst he walked over the armistice border in Jerusalem. And pushing a huge block of ice through a city until it had melted into nothing, this performance took nine hours.
Some people may say that the work of Laurel Nakadate is simply video porn. And in a way, you can see why certain criticisms have been leveled at her. She is best known for appearing in men’s homes and then performing sexually arousing writhing whilst the men look on.
She also performed a mime about what a sex romp with her boyfriend would be like in a dingy Tokyo hotel room. Most people would pigeon hole Nakadate as a video artist but her works transcend this medium. The whole premise of her performances are to push the boundaries of society morals and what is socially acceptable.
This young man from Philadelphia has a huge YouTube following, and the video clips by Hennessy Youngman, aka Jayson Musson are eagerly anticipated by his followers. His series of clips under the banner Art Thoughtz are both enlightening and highly funny.
His wacky performances are hard to actually describe, and all one can really say is that it is comedic performance art. The situations and locations that he chooses for his performances are the key to heightening the humor, which are often bizarre and outrageous. These are the first five of our top ten list of contemporary performance artists and even more are to follow.