Expert Answers
wordprof eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Performance art should not be confused with theatrical presentations and the "arts" surrounding them. It is a term used in 1960 to describes those art works, inside or outside traditional galleries, that include and incorporate the artist's actual presence.  The works can be full-body inclusions, or simply task performed as part of the art product.  "Product" does not mean commercial product--in fact, performance art works could not be purchased or permanently installed (they could be commissioned, and many were site-specific (see Stelarc, for instance).  Performance art was part of a movement to escape the two-dimensional framed canvas assumption of "art" and incorporated many of the icon-breaking movements such as Dada, Futurism, and the like.  Now studied in two disciplines (Fine Art and Performance Theory), the movement may turn out to be nothing but a footnote to the social upheavals of the 1960's.