Performance art is an artwork or art exhibition created through actions executed by the artist or other participants. It may be witnessed live or through documentation, spontaneously developed or written, and is traditionally presented to a public in a fine art context in an interdisciplinary mode. Also known as artistic action, it has been developed through the years as a genre of its own in which art is presented live. It had an important and fundamental role in 20th century avant-garde art.
It involves four basic elements: time, space, body, and presence of the artist, and the relation between the creator and the public. The actions, generally developed in art galleries and museums, can take place in the street, any kind of setting or space and during any time period. Its goal is to generate a reaction, sometimes with the support of improvisation and a sense of aesthetics. The themes are commonly linked to life experiences of the artist themselves, or the need of denunciation or social criticism and with a spirit of transformation.
The term "performance art" and "performance" became widely used in the 1970s, even though the history of performance in visual arts dates back to futurist productions and cabarets from the 1910s. The main pioneers of performance art include Carolee Schneemann, Marina Abramović, Ana Mendieta, Chris Burden, Hermann Nitsch, Joseph Beuys, Nam June Paik,Tehching Hsieh, Yves Klein and Vito Acconci. Some of the main exponents more recently are Tania Bruguera, Abel Azcona, Regina José Galindo, Marta Minujín and Petr Pavlensky. The discipline is linked to happening, the Fluxus movement, body art and conceptual art.