Endurance art

Marina Abramović's The Artist is Present, 2010, Museum of Modern Art, New York. Abramović sat opposite museum visitors for eight hours a day, without speaking, for a total of 750 hours.[1]

Endurance art is a kind of performance art involving some form of hardship, such as pain, solitude or exhaustion.[2] Performances that focus on the passage of long periods of time are also known as durational art or durational performances.[3]

Writer Michael Fallon traces the genre to the work of Chris Burden in California in the 1970s.[4] Burden spent five days in a locker in Five-Day Locker Piece (1971), had himself shot in Shoot (1971), and lived for 22 days in a bed in an art gallery in Bed Piece (1972).[5]

Other examples of endurance art include Tehching Hsieh's One Year Performance 1980–1981 (Time Clock Piece), in which for 12 months he punched a time clock every hour, and Art/Life One Year Performance 1983–1984 (Rope Piece), in which Hsieh and Linda Montano spent a year tied to each other by an eight-foot rope.[6]

In The House with the Ocean View (2003), Marina Abramović lived silently for 12 days without food or entertainment on a stage entirely open to the audience.[7] Such is the physical stamina required for some of her work that in 2012 she set up what she called a "boot camp" in Hudson, New York, for participants in her multiple-person performances.[8]


Tehching Hsieh spent a year in this cage in his studio in One Year Performance 1978–1979 (Cage Piece).

See also


  1. Elizabeth Greenwood, "Wait, Why Did That Woman Sit in the MoMA for 750 Hours?", The Atlantic, 2 July 2012.
  2. For artists in endurance performances "[q]uestioning the limits of their bodies," Tatiana A. Koroleva, Subversive Body in Performance Art, ProQuest, 2008, pp. 29, 44–46.
  3. Paul Allain, Jen Harvie, The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Performance, Routledge, 2014, p. 221. Other terms include duration art, live art or time-based art.

    Beth Hoffmann, "The Time of Live Art," in Deirdre Heddon, Jennie Klein (eds.), Histories and Practices of Live Art, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, p. 47.

  4. Michael Fallon, Creating the Future: Art and Los Angeles in the 1970s, Counterpoint, 2014, p. 106: "Burden's performances were so widely observed that they took on a life beyond the artist, helping create a new art genre, 'endurance art' ..."
  5. Emily Anne Kuriyama, "Everything You Need to Know About Chris Burden's Art Through His Greatest Works", Complex, 2 October 2013.
  6. 1 2 Andrew Taylor, "Tehching Hsieh: The artist who took the punches as they came", Sydney Morning Herald, 30 April 2014: "Don't try this endurance art at home. That is Tehching Hsieh's advice to artists inspired to emulate the five year-long performances he began in the late 1970s."
  7. 1 2 Thomas McEvilley, "Performing the Present Tense – A recent piece by Marina Abramovic blended endurance art and Buddhist meditation," Art in America, 91(4), April 2003.
  8. 1 2 3 E. C. Feiss, "Endurance Performance: Post-2008", Afterall, 23 May 2012.
  9. Miriam Seidel, "Pioneer Of Endurance Art To Give Lecture", Philadelphia Inquirer, 3 December 1998.

    John Perreault, "Lady Gaga Rejected by Marina Abramović, Plus MoMA Sound", Artopia, 13 September 2013.

  10. Karen Rosenberg, "Provocateur: Marina Abramovic", New York Magazine, 12 December 2005.
  11. 1 2 3 Jillian Steinhauer, "Two Weeks Into Performance, Columbia Student Discusses the Weight of Her Mattress", Hyperallergic, 17 September 2014 (citing Jon Kessler).
  12. Paul Allain, Jen Harvie, The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Performance, Routledge, 2014, p. 15.
  13. John Perreault, "Lady Gaga Rejected by Marina Abramović, Plus MoMA Sound", Artopia, 13 September 2013.
  14. 1 2 3 Emily Vey Duke, Kevin Rodgers, "Two types of sacred: 1970s endurance art today", C Magazine, 22 June 2005.
  15. Dierdre Heddon, "The Politics of Live Art," in Heddon and Klein 2012, p. 87.
  16. Cindy Adams, "He'll stay awake the longest ever", New York Post, 5 December 2007.
  17. Linda M. Montano, Letters from Linda M. Montano, Routledge, 2012, p. 185.
  18. 1 2 3 Deepika Shetty, "Endurance art: Five memorable marathon performances", The Straits Times, 14 August 2013.
  19. 1 2 Karen Gonzalez Rice, "Sexing the Monk: Masculinity and Monastic Discipline in American Endurance Art Circa 1975", College Art Association Annual Conference, Chicago, IL, 12–15 February 2014.
  20. Trout Monfalco, "Endurance Art – Six Hours is Too Long", Art Here and Now, accessed 24 February 2014.
  21. 1 2 Kathy Marks, "Tehching Hsieh: the man who didn't go to bed for a year", The Guardian, 30 April 2014.
  22. John Perrault, "Tehching Hsieh: Caged Fury", Artopia, 1 February 2009.
  23. "Sorrow on repeat: Ragnar Kjartansson on endurance art", CBC, 20 January 2015; "Ragnar Kjartansson and The National A Lot of Sorrow ", Luhring Augustine.
  24. Roberta Smith, "In a Mattress, a Lever for Art and Political Protest", The New York Times, 22 September 2014.
  25. Hentyle Yapp, Verona Leung, "Revisiting performance art of the 1990s and the politics of meditation", Leap, 8 August 2013.

Further reading

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