In Honor of Jay-Z and Marina A, Five Contemporary Performance Artists You Should Know

Artsy Editorial
Jul 12, 2013 2:15PM

With Jay-Z and Marina Abramovic setting the art world on fire this week with their intense tango during the rapper’s six-hour “Picasso Baby” marathon, performance art is in the spotlight. Whether or not Jay-Z’s latest spectacle fits the bill, a generation of artists working today are continuing and expanding on Abramovic’s legacy, exploring new realms for their performances—from YouTube to polar ice caps. Here are five that you should know:

Petra Cortright examines performance in the digital realm. In vvebcam (2007), Cortright recorded herself on a webcam passively scrolling through different effects on the recording device and posted the work to YouTube (where it was censored because of the explicit tags she applied).

Scarlett Hooft Graafland stages bizarre, seemingly impossible interventions in remote locations, like constructing an igloo from frozen lemonade in a remote Inuit village or trying to reconstruct Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty in an isolated Bolivian lake.

Robin Rhode uses walls and sidewalks as the stage for his exuberant interventions and performances, telling stories through street art and capturing his process in stop motion animation and serial photography.

Anahita Razmi re-stages seminal works of performance art, like Yoko Ono’s infamous Cut Piece (1964), reinterpreting them through the lens of her Iranian heritage.

Antti Laitinen makes purposefully Sisyphean attempts to harness and combat the course of natural forces, as in It’s My Island (2007) for which he constructed an island in the middle of the Baltic Sea via rowboat, dropping hundreds of individual sandbags into the icy waters.

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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019