Session 1: Introduction to the Themes of the Day

Speaker: Gill Perry, Senior Lecturer and Head of Art History, The Open University



Germaine Greer has described Kahlo as ‘the first ever true performance artist’. Gill Perry considers this claim in relation to recent debates about the meanings of performance art, and in comparison with the activities of a later generation of women artists, including the work of Carolee Schneemann, Ana Mendieta and Hannah Wilke from the 1960s and 70s. She explores how several women artists from this period appropriated performance art to explore their own sexual identities, bodily experiences and illness, to expose the limits of the category of ‘art’, and to reflect on the relationships between viewers and artworks.

Further Reading

G .Perry (ed.), Difference and Excess in Contemporary Art: The Visibility of Women’s Practice, Blackwells, 2004

G. Perry, ‘The Expanding Field: Ana Mendieta’s Silueta Series’, in Frameworks for Modern Art, Yale University Press, 2004

G. Perry (ed.), Gender and Art, Yale University Press, 1999