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Responding to Site

The Performance Work of Marilyn Arsem

This book focuses on the performance art of Marilyn Arsem, an internationally acclaimed performance artist known for her innovative and experimental work. Arsem’s work addresses women’s history and myth-making capacities, the potency of site and geography, the idea of the audience as witnesses, and the intimacy of one-to-one works. One of the most prolific performance artists working in the United States today, Arsem performs carefully choreographed durational actions that are developed site-responsively and range from deceptively simple interventions to elaborately orchestrated actions. This edited volume seeks to extend Arsem’s legacy beyond the audiences of her live performances and enter her work into the lexicon of the art world. Accompanied by two hundred images, Responding to Site will be of interest to scholars and students of performance studies, feminist performance, feminist art history, and performance history. It will also contribute to the history of alternative spaces and galleries that is only now being written.

316 pages | 147 color plates | 6.69 x 9.61 | © 2020

Art: American Art

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"What this book does admirably well is to provide as much of an experience of Arsem's work as possible considering the limitations of the medium of text. It also avoids falling into the trap of attempting to only represent her artistic output: the broad scope of the twelve essays in this collection ensures that Arsem's work is situated in global social and political contexts, making this book a valuable resource for those not only interested in performance art, but in art theory and practice more generally. . . . Intrinsically ephemeral, transient and temporary Arsem's work may be, but Responding to Site: The Performance Art of Marilyn Arsem nevertheless allows access to at least some aspects of this art, and the ethos of the artist. As such it is a significant resource, a valuable collection of artistic traces, an impactful archival document and a moving and engaging read."

Mareli Stolp, Journal for Artistic Research

"With this long overdue publication, editors Jennie Klein and Natalie Loveless have successfully curated a volume that claims critical space for Arsem's body and magnifies its distinct odor. . . . Beyond the critical essays, handfuls of performance photographs appear at the end of each section in the volume. Quite pleasurably, these visual vignettes bring the tactile environments of Arsem's work into delicate focus. . . . Responding to Site validates the work of performance artists who most often operate outside the bounds of traditional time structures and codified performance spaces. The book is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in performance art and an integral monograph about one of the field’s most prolific makers."

Raegan Truax, TDR: The Drama Review

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