Documenting Feminist Performance Art

This research- and exhibition project investigates the preparation, documentation, and archiving strategies employed by feminist artists in their ephemeral work. Using case studies ranging from the 1960s to the present day, it examines how the time- and site-specific experience of performance art is translated into physical material with sustainability and assesses in how far the study of archival material influences art historical scholarship and understanding of a given work. In doing so, it considers the “value” and meaning of material traces as secondary resources as compared to the physical execution. The project also considers how documenting strategies are changing in relation to new technologies and media and what the implications are for the concept of the “archive”. In highlighting the idiosyncratic motivations, inspirations, and contexts in the development of a critical-political agenda, it seeks to complexify the normative understanding of Feminist Art.

Collaborations: The Getty Research Institute, Carolee Schneemann, Barbara T. Smith

Outcomes to date:

articles: “’Finding a Body: Performance as Practice and Theory in the Work of Barbara T. Smith,” Zbornik, Journal of the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, University of Belgrade, 2019.

“Documenting Carolee Schneemann’s Performance Works” (with Rachel Rivenc), The Getty Research Journal no 9, January 2018, Los Angeles, The Getty Research Institute.

talks: “’Finding a Body‘: Performance as Practice and Theory in the Work of Barbara T. Smith,“ Feminist Art History Conference, American University Washington, September 28-30 2018.

„Building a Legacy through an Archive – Carolee Schneemann in Conversation with Anja Foerschner,“ International Symposium Body of Work: Artists Estates, Contemporary Conservation Ltd, New York, April 4-5, 2018.

Carolee Schneemann on her Art and Archive – a Conversation with Anja Foerschner, The Getty, March 20, 2018.

„Documenting Carolee Schneemann’s Performance Works“ (with Dr. Rachel Rivenc, Getty Conservation Institute), International Symposium Collecting and Preserving Performance Art, German Association of Conservator-Restorers, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, June 9-11, 2016.