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Art, Performance, Media

31 Interviews

2004

Nicholas Zurbrugg, editor

Art, Performance, Media

Avant-garde artists discuss their work, their lives, the art world—and each other

Over the course of fifteen years, Nicholas Zurbrugg interviewed the avant-garde poets, filmmakers, dancers, writers, composers, and performance artists who were defying tradition, crossing genres, and forever changing how art would be created, performed, and interpreted.

The book features interviews with Kathy Acker, Charles Amirkhanian, Laurie Anderson, Robert Ashley, Beth B, David Blair, William S. Burroughs, Warren Burt, John Cage, Richard Foreman, Kenneth Gaburo, Diamanda Galás, John Giorno, Philip Glass, Brion Gysin, Dick Higgins, Jenny Holzer, Mike Kuchar, Robert Lax, Jackson Mac Low, Meredith Monk, Nam June Paik, Yvonne Rainer, Steve Reich, Rachel Rosenthal, Bill Viola, Larry Wendt, Emmett Williams, Robert Wilson, Nick Zedd, and Ellen Zweig. Introductory notes to each interview provide context and connect the work and experiences of various artists, and photographs of these artists contribute a significant visual element to the book.

An invaluable resource. These rare firsthand accounts reveal the thinking behind the radical, ephemeral forms of art making that emerged from the 1960s onward, by some of the period's most influential artists. Nicholas Zurbrugg's dedication has produced a precious legacy: art history told through the voice of the artist.

Chrissie Iles, curator, Whitney Museum of American Art

Over the course of fifteen years, Nicholas Zurbrugg interviewed the avant-garde poets, filmmakers, dancers, writers, composers, and performance artists who were defying tradition, crossing genres, and forever changing how art would be created, performed, and interpreted. These conversations with thirty-one of the leading multimedia artists in the United States now form a comprehensive record, from the insiders’s perspectives, of the most vital component of the postmodern American art world.

Passionate about postmodernism and committed to innovative creativity, Zurbrugg asks these artists probing and insightful questions. How did their work evolve? Who most influenced them? How did they assess changes in contemporary art, and what did they think of each other’s work? Which of their experiences had the most powerful effects on their creative development? What could lie ahead for American art? As these questions are answered by individual artists, the interviews also cumulatively address larger issues of artistic expression, including the idea of the avant-garde itself.

The book features interviews with Kathy Acker, Charles Amirkhanian, Laurie Anderson, Robert Ashley, Beth B, David Blair, William S. Burroughs, Warren Burt, John Cage, Richard Foreman, Kenneth Gaburo, Diamanda Galás, John Giorno, Philip Glass, Brion Gysin, Dick Higgins, Jenny Holzer, Mike Kuchar, Robert Lax, Jackson Mac Low, Meredith Monk, Nam June Paik, Yvonne Rainer, Steve Reich, Rachel Rosenthal, Bill Viola, Larry Wendt, Emmett Williams, Robert Wilson, Nick Zedd, and Ellen Zweig. Introductory notes to each interview provide context and connect the work and experiences of various artists, and photographs of these artists contribute a significant visual element to the book.


Art, Performance, Media

Nicholas Zurbrugg (1947–2001) was professor of English and cultural studies, as well as director of the Centre of Contemporary Arts, at De Montfort University in Leicester, England. He is the author of The Parameters of Postmodernism and Critical Vices: The Myths of Postmodern Theory.

Art, Performance, Media

Thanks to the perseverance, dynamic personality, knowledge and understanding, Zurbrugg has given us a mirror of those cutting-edge artists who emerged from the 1960s onward, who wrote, made videos, performed, danced, made music and so much more, all ephemeral, all fleeting except for people like Zurbrugg who captured their thoughts on paper through conversation. This is a must!

Umbrella

An invaluable resource. These rare firsthand accounts reveal the thinking behind the radical, ephemeral forms of art making that emerged from the 1960s onward, by some of the period's most influential artists. Nicholas Zurbrugg's dedication has produced a precious legacy: art history told through the voice of the artist.

Chrissie Iles, curator, Whitney Museum of American Art

Art, Performance, Media brings together music-media-performance and literary art in a way that has not been done before.

Chris Kraus, author of Video Green: Los Angeles Art and the Triumph of Nothingness

Art, Performance, Media

CONTENTS

Preface
Introduction
Kathy Acker
Charles Amirkhanian
Laurie Anderson
Robert Ashley
Beth B
David Blair
William S. Burroughs
Warren Burt
John Cage
Richard Foreman
Kenneth Gaburo
Diamanda Galás
John Giorno
Philip Glass
Brion Gysin
Dick Higgins
Jenny Holzer
Mike Kuchar
Robert Lax
Jackson Mac Low
Meredith Monk
Nam June Paik
Yvonne Rainer
Steve Reich
Rachel Rosenthal
Bill Viola
Larry Wendt
Emmett Williams
Robert Wilson
Nick Zedd
Ellen Zweig

Biographies