High Performance

High Performance Spines

High Performance was published by Art in the Public Interest from 1978 to 1997:

Originally a magazine covering performance art, over time it gradually shifted its editorial focus from art that was formally adventurous to art that was socially and culturally adventurous. Back issues of the magazine can still be seen at better libraries around the world. The High Performance archive is in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles (Art in the Public Interest  website, accessed 12/18/2013).

In the SVA library, by definition, one of the better, you’ll find all but a few issues of High Performance, 64 in total, from the 2nd issue (1978) to the 76th and final issue (1997).

Accessible in print at the SVA Library and electronically for SVA students via Art Source (MySVA username and password required), Jenni Sorkin’s article in Art Journal, “Envisioning High Performance chronicles High Performance’s history and lasting influence, and provides this description of the magazine’s format for the first five years of its existence:  

With the commencement of High Performance, publisher, founder, and editor Linda Frye Burnham invented a standard format for the documentation and dissemination of live and ephemeral artworks, creating single- or double-paged spreads that paired a photograph with an artist-supplied text chronicling the live event. Operating on an open submission policy from its founding in 1978 until 1982, Burnham published any artist who could provide black-and-white photographic documentation, dates, and a description of the performance (Sorkin).

It was important in terms of documentation, ensuring that these performance art pieces, which often only occurred once, could have a life beyond the memories of a small audience that happened to witness them. It also helped define and lend credence to a genre of art that was not receiving serious critical attention, not least of all because the lack of documentation. High Performance helped define performance art both by what it published and also with what it didn’t. By “rejecting outright the inclusion of dance, theater, and music, HP delineated clear boundaries by determining what was not performance art” (Sorkin). Among many other,  artists featured include Carolee Schneeman, Pat Oleszko, The Waitresses,  Paul McCarthy, Kim Jones, Linda Montano, and Barbara T. Smith.

Please enjoy the following sample from the pages of:

High Performance, no 20. 1983.

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High Performance, no 21. 1983.

Anne Bean's "The Fall of Babylon".

High Performance, no 25. 1984. Back Cover.
Anne Bean’s “The Fall of Babylon”. Photos by Chris Bishop.

Johanna Went. Photo by Anna Barrado

Johanna Went. Photo by Anna Barrado
High Performance, no 28. 1984.

"Orbit on the Hour" by Yura Adams.

“Orbit on the Hour” by Yura Adams. Photo by Kim McLean.
High Performance, no 22. 1983.

"Dermoid" by Nancy Forest Brown.

“Dermoid” by Nancy Forest Brown.
High Performance, no 14. Summer 1981.

Carolee Schneemann

Carolee Schneemann. Photo by James Tenney.
High Performance, no 20. 1983.

Wendy O

Wendy O of the Plasmatics
High Performance, no 21. 1983.

Sheree Levin and Bob Flanagan

Sheree Levin and Bob Flanagan’s Improvisation with Food and Poetry. Photo by Bones.
High Performance, no 16. Winter 1981-2.

"Disturbed Water" by Louise Udaykee

“Disturbed Water” by Louise Udaykee. Photo by Gregory X.
High Performance, no 08. Winter 1979-1980.

"Rolling Drawing" by Nigel Rolfe

“Rolling Drawing” by Nigel Rolfe.
High Performance, no 14. Summer 1981.

Protest Performance

Performance protesting discrimination against women and minority artists in museums.
High Performance, no 15. Fall 1981.

The Waitresses(?)

The Waitresses(?)
High Performance, no 16. Winter 1981-2.

High Performance

High Performance, no 14. Summer 1981.

"In the Garden" by Anne Mavor and Marianne Bonetti

“In the Garden” by Anne Mavor and Marianne Bonetti. Photo by Elizabeth Canelake.
High Performance, no 09. Spring 1980.

Bea Licata

Bea Licata. Photo by Karen Lightner.
High Performance, no 09. Spring 1980.

Sandra Binion, Jurgen Klauke

Left: Sandra Binion. Photo by Dustin Pittman.
Right: Jurgen Klauke. Photo by Betzel Verlag.
High Performance, no 09. Spring 1980.

High Performance

High Performance, no 02. June 1978. Back Cover.

Paul McCarthy

Left: Coco Gordon. Photo by Helmet Becker.
Right: Paul McCarthy. Photo by the Dark Bob
High Performance, no 09. Spring 1980.

High Performance, no 04. December 1978.

Likay performance in Thailand

High Performance, no 52. Winter 1990. Back Cover.
The Boonlert Sit Homhuan Theater of Bangkok performing Likay, the traditional popular theater of Thailand, during the Los Angeles Festival.
Photo by Dr. Thomas F. Reese.

Rain Spirit and Trash Monster in "Rites of Spring" Procession

High Performance, no 67. Fall 1994. Back Cover.
Rain Spirit and Trash Monster in “Rites of Spring” Procession.
Photo by Shanna Dressler.

High Performance, no 04. December 1978.z

 

Works Cited

 Sorkin, Jenni. “Envisioning High Performance.” Art Journal 62.2 (2003): 36-51. Art Source. Web. 5 Dec. 2013.

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Posted on December 8, 2013, in Art (Periodicals), Periodicals, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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