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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:
Sorkin, Jenni. “Envisioning High Performance.” Art Journal 62.2 (2003): 36-51. Art Source. Web. 5 Dec. 2013.
Special Feature: Found Print in the Library of Shinro Ohtake
Cooperation by Shohei Lida
Photography by Kentahasegawa
Cover: Film still from Omar Fast’s Continuity
Cover: Carole Conde and Karl Beveridge
…It’s Still Privileged Art
1976 artists’ book cover
Cover: “Haunted House” by Mark Ulriksen
John Berkey’s space art often depicted grandiose space crafts with loose brush strokes, as this acrylic on board piece from the 1990’s shows.
Cover: Teresita Fernandez, Untitled, 2012
Polycarbonate tubing, 96 x 542 x 264 inches
Photo: Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, NY and Hong Kong
Cover: Detail from 1970’s Letratone brochure overprinted by character from the Marsh stencil alphabet
Cover: Gold crown
Silla, 5th century.
Height 30.7 cm.
Treasure No. 339.
Gyeongju National Museum
Cover Feature: Shadowlands
Shapeshifting, all-devouring, steeped in blood–the influence of the Gothic tradition now lurks in all corners of our culture, says Rhidian Davis on the eve of a major BFI season.
PLUS Roger Corman on his cycle of films based on stories by Edgar Allan Poe.
From 1982 we have”the world’s only consumer magazine about beer:” BEER. This is the Beauty (Barbara Eden with her shirt apparently completely unbuttoned) and the beer (that thing pictured in the upper right corner which Barbara made materialize) issue.
The Mob moves in on Wayne Newton. Beverly Hills Diet: Can it kill you? Brazil gags Baez. And the fairy tale wedding (sans the longevity of ever after or happiness).
Dick and Judy Blinn demonstrating what 1980 money looks like:
Some standard 1980 props from Time:
Geo was a great magazine. We have a number of issues in our periodicals from 1979-1985. It was sort of like a more artsy National Geographic, but it is sadly no more.
Next we have a selection of Atlantic magazines, many of which, at least in content and posturing, seem like they could have been published this year.
A selection of Omni magazine seems a fitting way to stagger your imagination, blow your mind, and be done with the mainstream 1980’s. Much like the 1980’s itself, and especially the end of the 80’s, which like the end of any decade tries too hard to descend and ascend and define, the graphics presented here are just a little too awkward and conceptually far-reaching for even 20+ of nostalgic inducing passing time to render endearing. But what do I know?