Once upon a Time…from Minimal Art to Cabaret: 1970s – 90s

10 april, 1996 - 26 april, 1996
Sabatini Building, Auditorium
Margarita de Aizpuru
Diamanda Galas. Double Barrel Prayer, 1992
Diamanda Galas. Double Barrel Prayer, 1992

Performance art (especially by women) became a means of artistic expression in the 1970s, when it was conceived as a tool for movements like body art and conceptual and minimal art and led a series of women artists to work on their own bodies, searching for a transformation that was not only physical, but also social. In the 1980s, a generation of artists raised on so-called popular culture - television, rock music, B movies, etc. - eradicated not only the barriers between art and life, but also between art and the media. The stages changed as well, as nightclubs began to feature this type of artwork, giving rise to a renewal of the cabaret. In the 1990s, women artists expressing themselves in performance pieces renegotiated concepts like narcissism, along with spaces for presentation and audiovisual media, with video performance playing a role in the idea of presence and the emphasis placed on the body.

From the purist rigor and economy of conceptual, minimal and body art - where these artists formed the focal point of a type of performance art that practically functioned without a stage - they moved on to the multidisciplinary variety of the works presented in recent years, incorporating staging and new technology. Women moved from alternative spaces to underground clubs in the East Village via both the museum and the street, from minimal art to cabaret, from the female body and sexuality to the exploration of these same themes using new perspectives and multicultural environments where they continue to explore gender, race and identity.