d e O P T i m a l
a modest proposal

What is the importance of performance art?

Most people have absolutely no idea what performance art is. If you ask people for the names of performance artists, you'll probably come up Laurie Anderson and (maybe) Christo. Are these folks representative of a diverse field?

The major problem with performance art is that it involves the audience. But how many people can possibly be involved at one time? By this standard this art is self-defeating.

But do we really need to involve the audience? When Laurie Anderson performs her piece Duets on Ice, a few people get to see. Yet her descriptions of the piece serve as an admirable substitute. Let's go with this idea for a minute.

Perhaps it would be more useful to create a mass-media outlet not for performance art per se, but for descriptions of pieces.

This would have several benefits:

  1. Cost. Why stump for funds for a piece when describing it is cheaper by orders of magnitude? A single grant could run a Web-based magazine for several years.

  2. Exposure. Rather than create a piece seen by hundreds, a Web-based magazine could be seen by thousands of people per day.

Why spend all the time hustling for funds and then putting on a piece that's seen by only a handful of people? Why continue being deOPTimal? Instead, write the piece up for inclusion in Performance Art Digest.

[Okay, Bill Griffith did it first. Check out his 1976 Zippy strip "Conceptual Art: Bargain Rates", which skewers the expense of Christo's projects.]