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Performance & Performativity
In 1975, a small group of enterprising, discontented members of the international art community in Montreal posed the following question: “What do we know of contemporary art outside of Quebec, in Canada or abroad? Do we even know what contemporary art exists in Montreal? How does information about art circulate?” By way of an answer, the artistically unconventional and theoretically cutting-edge magazine “Parachute” was launched, founded by Chantal Pontbriand and France Morin. Artists such as Jeff Wall, Bill Viola, Stan Douglas, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, and many others, had the first significant critical reception of their work in “Parachute.” Similarly, figures such as Douglas Crimp, Thomas Crow, Thierry de Duve, Georges Didi-Huberman, Hal Foster, Reesa Greenberg, Serge Guilbaut, and Laura Mulvey, all of whom have helped define the parameters of art history, theory, and practice, published rigorous, highly pertinent essays in the journal early on in their careers.
This volume — the second of an anthology in four volumes — brings together seminal texts written throughout the first twenty-five years of the magazine. Focused on emerging art practices since its inception, “Parachute” sought to develop new critical language that could deal with performance. If the early texts refer to the concept of performativity, in kinship with the theories of John Austin and a trans-medium approach, others address the questions of genre, feminist and cultural studies, globalization, and institutional critique. The essays discuss works by artists such as Yvonne Rainer, General Idea, N.E. Thing Company, Matthew Barney, Krzysztof Wodiczko, and Kendell Geers.
A contemporary art historian, critic, and curator, Chantal Pontbriand co-founded “Parachute” in 1975 and edited its 125 issues until 2007.
The book is part of the “Documents” series, co-published with Les presses du réel and dedicated to critical writings.