PRINT January 1980

Situation Esthetics: Impermanent Art and the Seventies Audience

At the end of the 1970s many artists are dissatisfied with the exclusive posture of the traditional avant-garde and seem to be seeking ways to extend the art audience without compromising their work. It could be argued that ’70s, as distinct from ’60s, art is characterized more by this change in attitude toward the audience than by a change in actual forms, or even content. The increase in the ’70s of “project,” performance, film and video art, all of which have their origins in the ’60s, would seem to bear this out.

(1) How has the artist’s perception of his/her audience changed in the ’70s?

(2) What shifts in emphasis, esthetic and otherwise, have the impermanence and specificity of project and performance art brought about?

I asked a number of artists who seem to be exploring this territory to comment on these questions. Not all replied, but those who did offer some provocative, if

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