Natasha Vita More (
Tue, 14 Apr 1998 20:03:44 -0500

Recently I visited the LA's Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) to view an
exhibition of "Action Art" (1950s - 1970s). The exhibition consisted of
archival videos, writings, installations, and photographs of performances
and sculpture. While Action Art lasted only two decades, it did pave the
way for Performance Art which paved the way for our Transhumanist Extropic
Art known as "Automorph Art."

If you aren't familiar with Action Art, let me be briefly explain. Action
Art began with Jackson Pollock's radical method of paintings where he
literally flung the oil painting off the canvas. This became a statement
of that art can reach beyond the edges of a canvas or the edge of a
theatrical stage - beyond the confines of its form.

Some example of Action Art are by Manzoni (Italy) who signed naked bodies
of people and then exhibited them as living sculpture; Yves Klein (France)
who authored political and social statements on blackboards and then sold
them as art works; and Joseph Beuys who created the Free University as a
multidisciplinary informational network which he called "social sculpture";
and also Allan Kaprow who is known for authoring _The blurring of art and

The legacy left by Action Art brought about an "acute awareness among
artists" giving its viewers a sample of "humanity as a work of art." There
were a few pieces that I favored at MOMA - the outrageous frankness of
Carolee Schneemann (known for pulling a 4 ' scroll out of her vagina and
reading it on stage (I did see her perform this in 1976 at the Telluride
Film Festival (1977))). There were mementos of moments in art history -
moments where creative minds raced past the confines of tradition and
proclaimed each moment of their existence worthy of recording.

Remember, this was in the 1950s - 1970s and these artists were
experimenting with their consciousness and their bodies. There was little
evidence of bio-technology or interfacing with robotics. There was little
concern with indefinite lifespans. There was little interest in enhancing
or augmenting intelligence. These artists exhibited their emotions - as raw
and exposed as they could - as if shouting to the World - "Come see me -
see who I am naked in my mundane life!" Action Art shunned society's
covering up of thoughts (censorship) and the covering of the body (moralism).

Clearly, nakedness is not new to art, as evidenced in any art history
colorplate. Genitals are exhibited in plain view in the painting of
"Madonna and Child" or Michelangelo rendered penises on the ceiling of the
Sistine Chapel. Exploitative sex is visible in Hieronymus Bosch's "Garden
of Delights," (1500s). Yet, soon the penis was morally covered with a
symbolic fig leaf and culture turned away from gawking at naked bodies on
display in their venerated, adorned and even "divined" creations.

Indeed, Action Art was a sincere "Kick In The Ass" to humanity's moralism;
yet, Action Art wasn't pretty or particularly inviting. In fact,
retrospectively it looked real dim to me. If this genre symbolized the
"every day life of humanity" while shinning a light upon it -- How very dim
the bulb.

Glad that my own work was not chosen for this particular exhibition, I
thought about the brilliant light of optimism and innovation shinning on
our transhumanity and that the art/science of our early transhuman efforts.

Our incandescent "Kick Off" to transhumanity's potential may be exhibited
decades from now.

Natasha Vita More [fka Nancie Clark]:
Transhumanist Art Centre - Home of Extropic Art:
**NEW** Transhuman Culture InfoMark:
PRESS RELEASE: "We are transhumans ..." Meme Orbits Saturn in 2004!

"The best defense is an aesthetic offense."