Key Concept Lecture: Participation

To include the viewer in the artworks

John Cage, 4’33, 1952


  • invited the audience to listen to the music, played nothing to make the audience more aware of the silence


Alexander Calder, Steelfish, 1934


  • because this is a mobile the piece moves, because it is not set in stone this could be viewed as participatory work

Alan Karrow, Yard, 1967(61)


  • “happenings’
  • environment room full of tyres
  • audience invited to get inside and move around

Alan Kaprow, Household, 1964

  • part of the influence of the fluxes movement
  • George manciunas – madman – the fluxus were nutcases

Andy Warhol, Do it Yourself – Flowers, 1962

andy warhol “do it yourself flowers” 1962 | OliveLoaf Design

image: aw.jpg

Yoko Ono, Cut Piece, 1965



In this piece of work Yoko Ono sat still and allowed the audience to come up and let you cut a piece of her clothing off, to do this the audience were given trust to follow the rules of the performance. Towards the end of the performance there is minimal clothing left to cut, and while most people respected this, occasionally people abused this rule,

Yoko Ono, Paintings for the wind instruction, 1961


Situationalist International (The Situationist International (SI) was an international organization of social revolutionaries made up of avant-garde artists, intellectuals, and political theorists, prominent in Europe from its formation in 1957 to its dissolution in 1972. – wikipedia definition)

Psychogeography (Psychogeography is an exploration of urban environments that emphasizes playfulness and “drifting”. It has links to the Situationist International – wikipedia definition)


– Guy Debord – Society of the spectacle, 1967 BOOK

Ben Vautier, Le Magasin (the shop), 1958-73

Robert Morris, Neo Classic, 1971


re-created in 2009 for the Tate Modern (Health and saftey meant the exhibition was closed after 2/3 days, unlike the original)

Activist angle of participation art:

  • Joseph Beuys, I am searching for field character, 1973

this started the political movement for ‘direct democracy’ in 1972

art can be a medium for change

  • Lygia Clark, Dialogue goggles, 1968
  • Lygia Clark, Elastic Net, 1974

invites everyone to join in and build the net, this raised the question “what is the art?” the net, the action and/or the statement

  • Lygia Clark, Bichos, 1965
  • Lygia Clark, Collective Head, 1975

image; 171_Clark_9_LC277_Print1-700×482.jpg

after the works like this, Lygia Clark moved on to Art Therapy and was creating works based on this context

  • Lygia Clark, Structuring of the Self, 1970’s

Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2002-Present

The architecture was more deconstructing rather than reconstructing, the idea of an art warehouse rather than a museum

-Nicholas Bouriaud, Relational Aesthetics, 1998 BOOK

  • Thomas Hirschham, La flamme eternal, 2014
  • Rirkrit Tiravanija, Social Pudding, 2003

invited different communities and cultures to share their best puddings and shared them with all

  • Claire Bishop, Artificial Hells, 2012

image: 9781844676903_Artificial_Hells-bb8664879a99fd17104b7e6e24e6f000.jpg

  • Future Farmers, The reverse ark, 2010
  • Marle Setter, Access, 2000
  • Kirsa O’Reilly, Cut, 2000
  • Marina Abramovic, The artist is present, 2010

image: 1024px-Marina_Abramović,_The_Artist_is_Present,_2010_(2).jpg



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