Interaction. Performance art and international contacts in the Netherlands in the 1970s
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Since the beginning of the 20th century, artists have been turning to live gestures of the human body as one means among many others to express their ideas. Various forms of ‘live art’ played an important part in the history of modern art; from Futurism, the Bauhaus and Dada, to Happening, Fluxus and conceptual art. Although the history of performance in its broadest sense – i.e. any form of ‘live art’ – can be spread over the whole 20th century, performance art became accepted as a medium of artistic expression in its own right in the 1970s. In the Netherlands, performance has also flourished as a ‘new’ and independent artistic medium in this period. Several artists contributed to the development of the experimental art form there, among them both Dutchmen and foreigners who had settled in the Netherlands in the 1960s and 1970s. In this thesis the focus will firstly be on the characterization of performance art in the Netherlands and the demonstration of covering tendencies in the fields of content, form and attitude. In addition, the international relations of Netherlands-based performance artists and the interaction these contacts brought about, will be examined. (Important in this respect are structural relation networks between Dutch artists and foreign artists living in the Netherlands; but also incidental contacts with foreign artists from abroad.) These two focus points together will reveal the consequences of international relations for the development and characteristics of performance art in the Netherlands.