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.