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Many Forms of Art: New Genres

In this video we are introduced to artists creating work to express ideas and emotions in a wide variety of media, Janine Antoni and Nam June Paik.
<v ->Now that we’ve explored ways artists from many eras</v> have been pushing the boundaries of traditional art disciplines in terms of materials and the ways they use them and in the manner of exhibiting, let’s now look at two artists working in non-traditional disciplines that developed in the 20th century and continued to evolve. In fact, even the names of the disciplines continue to shift. New genres, interdisciplinary art, cross-disciplinary art, multidisciplinary art. I’m a multidisciplinary artist, or maybe I’m an interdisciplinary artist.
Let’s start with performance art, sometimes referred to as live art. In the late 1950s, artists from Japan to the United States started using their bodies as the medium of their artwork. For instance, not just holding a brush and painting, but using the body as the brush itself, as in this work by Janine Antoni, “Loving Care.” The form of this work is performance art. In this case, in front of a live audience. The content is a woman dressed in black on the ground, seeming to wash or polish the floor using her hair as the mop. There’s a bucket and she is in what looks like a large space.
The performance lasts the amount of time it takes Antoni to cover the entire floor.
The context: The paint is Loving Care brand hair dye in Natural Black. One can make associations to women’s labor and also the labor of beauty regimes.
Art historical context: Antoni’s actions evoke Abstract Expressionist painting. In the ’50s, artist Yves Klein staged naked women as paintbrushes, pulling each other around by their legs and arms, their bodies smearing paint onto a tarp, with viewers seated, observing. In “Loving Care,” Antoni is clothed and is the author of her own work. Additionally, Antoni’s actions are empowered by the fact that viewers must shift and eventually exit as she moves through the space. Next, let’s discuss artists who embrace technology in their practices as the medium for making and/or the device for conveying their art. Some also make commentary on the technology itself. Let’s look at one of the pioneers of video installation, Nam June Paik.
This is “Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii,” 1995 to ‘96. Note that we are just seeing a portion of it in this image. The form is a multimedia installation with neon lights, many sizes of monitors playing videos. The content is a video installation in the shape of the United States, with neon lights used as state boundaries and waterways, and stacks of monitors playing videos of differing imagery.
Context: The television monitors are a vital part of Paik’s installation, not simply as image transmitters, but as sculptural elements. In this case creating the landmass of the U.S. The neon references signs of food and drink establishments lit up at night that you might see in a cross-country road trip in America, and the monitors speak to Hollywood’s reach of a television in every home. Further research into Paik’s work reveals a pioneer in imagining the future of communication using the term “electronic super highway” in a 1974 proposal. Wow! In every era of his work, Paik was imagining and visualizing where technology might go, questioning future implications for electronic communication and the human technology interface.

Painting with hair and sculpting with televisions – view more about how artists Janine Antoni and Nam June Paik use surprising materials and methods for making their art.

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