Performance artist search
November 14, 2012 11:27 PM   Subscribe

Looking for artworks where artists use instructional language, prompts or directives. Similar to Yoko Ono's grapefruit or artists who give tours through museums as a conceptual strategies such Andrea Fraser
posted by specialk420 to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Miranda July does a lot of interactive multimedia work that engages the audience through directions. Such as the assignments on Learning To Love You More or the installation, The Hallway (featured previously on MetaFilter).
posted by book 'em dano at 12:38 AM on November 15, 2012

Janet Cardiff’s ‘Walks’.
posted by misteraitch at 1:14 AM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Have you seen Howtoons?
posted by pla at 4:17 AM on November 15, 2012

Great suggestions - thank you. Others?
posted by specialk420 at 6:34 AM on November 15, 2012

Not just Yoko Ono, but lots of Fluxus artists used instructions and directives in their work. Often these were geared more towards enabling performances or group games, but sometimes they were also instructions to the individual art viewer. From a New York Times review of a Fluxus show: "George Brecht's "Bead Puzzle" has seven wooden beads on a string and instructions printed on a card that says, "Cut cord so that beads do not separate. Find another Solution. Repeat, beyond the farthest solution.""

We've also had Bruce Nauman's Body Pressure poster in our hallway for years now hoping a visitor will do it and to my deep disappointment, so far no one has.
posted by EmilyFlew at 6:34 AM on November 15, 2012

Joseph Beuys, of course, also. From this interview: [ON EVERVESS II 1]

S, K: Evervess II 1. The instructions on the lid of the wooden box to "drink the contents of bottle II and throw the cap as far away from you as possible" usually aren't acted upon because people are afraid of "damaging" the object. Are those instructions meant to be serious?

B: Actually the instructions are meant to be serious, but of course I knew that a lot of people wouldn't follow them. I believe the object is only right, if it's done. Before that, the object hasn't been in action. The directions for a small activity which one must perform oneself are contained in this object. And if people have carried out this activity and regret it, they have to go on from there and start another activity and procure such a bottle again. I'd have nothing against that!
posted by EmilyFlew at 6:37 AM on November 15, 2012

What about Sol Lewitt? He produced instructions for his "wall paintings" which are then "installed" (actually drawn or painted) on walls according to those instructions.

Or John Cage - a lot of his scores include instructions on how to make (or find) the instruments to be used in the performance and/or instructions on how to choose which section of the piece to play when, in addition to relatively normal (if sometimes exhaustive) instructions about how to actually play the music.

(Both of these are a bit different from some of the other works mentioned here, in that the people carrying out the instructions are not the audience but rather the performers or the installers.)
posted by mskyle at 6:46 AM on November 15, 2012

Do it, a compilation by Bruce Altschuler and Hans Ulrich Obrist, is probably the best collection of instruction pieces I've ever seen. Looks like the book is out of print, but you can find much of the content on e-flux.
posted by kelegraph at 11:51 AM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding EmilyFlew. The "event score" was a major component of the fluxus movement and consisted usually of some kind of instruction - eat a salad, light a match, or my personal favorite "crawl inside the vagina of a living whale."

Check out the Fluxus Workbook (pdf) for a good compilation of several hundred.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:51 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Belated thanks for all the great suggestions here.
posted by specialk420 at 10:39 PM on January 1, 2013

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