Performance at Tate: Into the Space of Art


This timeline is part of the research publication Performance at Tate: Into the Space of Art (2016), which aims to research, document and make public the role performance – in all its forms – has played in the history of modern and contemporary art at Tate since the 1960s.

Tate first purchased a live performance for its permanent collection in 2005. Good Feelings in Good Times 2003 by the Slovak conceptual artist Roman Ondák took the form of a queue of people positioned in different places in the museum. The work’s acquisition marked the museum’s acceptance of performance as both worthy and capable of being collected and conserved. In 2012 the opening of the Tanks – galleries in Tate Modern partly dedicated to live art – signalled Tate’s commitment to presenting performance as a form of artistic expression that needed to be fully integrated into the story of modern and contemporary art.

The history of performance at Tate, however, goes back long before these events, to at least the 1960s when artists were regularly invited to stage actions and events within the museum and when artworks with origins in live action or performance were first acquired for the national collection. The interactive timeline below presents aspects of Tate’s engagement with performance and associated artistic practices from the 1960s to 2016. It highlights the moments at which performance or live work entered the museum as acquisitions or programmed events. It encompasses the artworks featured as case studies in Performance at Tate: Into the Space of Art (2016) and refers to many other artworks, events and policy changes that also make up the previously little known history of performance at Tate.

Click here for a text-only pdf version of this timeline.

Performance at Tate: Into the Space of Art | Project overview | The Dimensions of Performance | Perspectives | Case studies | Resources