Some artists such as Vito Acconci (1940- ) felt that what was missing from art was the corporeal presence of the artist. Body art uses the body, usually the artist's own, as a medium. This movement functions as a reaction against the impersonality especially of conceptual art and minimalism. It often overlaps with performance art, but usually body art is constructed in private and the artwork itself is the documentation of it. Body art at its best is able graphically to explore identity, sexuality, gender, illness, ageing, violence, and death.
Living Sculptures (1961) Manzoni signed his name on the bodies of several people.Carolee Schneeman
Meat Joy (1964)Bruce Nauman (1941- )
See Performance Art.
Self-Portrait as a Fountain (1966)John Coplans (1920- )
In homage to Duchamp with conscious reference to his Fountain urinal of 1917, art extends here to the artist himself being a work of art. The body language, even narcissism, of the artist is contained within the frame instead of the artist being an outsider to the product.
Violence and death are favorite themes.Chris Burden
Trans-fixed (24 April 1974)Lucas Samaras (1936- )
The artist in a crucifixion pose on the back of a Volkswagen.
Autopolaroids make the viewer a voyeur.Marc Quinn (1964 )
Self (1991)Gilbert and George
Quinn saved up 8 pints of his own blood (the average amount in the human body) which he cast and froze in his own image to raise issues of mortality. Self-mutilization and pain were sometimes used politically in the '60s and '70s.
Living and working together since 1967, this British duo transformed themselves into living sculptures and art. They lightly mock the pretensions of art world by always posing and portraying themselves in variety of media. Deliberate bad pop art style ridicules narcissism and pretentions of artists, as in the irreverent Thumbing (1991).Mona Hatoum (1952- ) -- Palestinian.
Corps étranger (1994)
An endoscopic video whose title means Foreign Body.
Dempsey, Amy. Art in the Modern Era: A Guide to Styles, Schools & Movements. NY: Harry N. Abrams Inc., Pub., 2002.