Czech Action Art: Happenings, Actions, Events, Land Art, Body Art and Performance Art Behind the Iron Curtain

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Czech action art - a medium similar to performance art that does not require an audience - emerged out of the political and social turmoil of the 1960s. This movement has received little critical attention, however, as the Iron Curtain prevented its dissemination to an international audience. Here theorist and art historian Pavlina Morganova gives this art scene its due, chronicling its inception and tracing its evolution through to the present. Morganova explains the various forms of action art, from the actions and happenings of the 1960s; to the actions of land art that encompass stones, trees, water, or fire; to recent displays of body art; to the actions of the latest generation of artists, who are using the principles of action art in contemporary postconceptual and participative art. Along the way, she introduces the most prominent Czech artists of each specific niche, including Milan Knizak, Zorka Saglova, Ivan Kafka, Petr Stembera, Karel Miler, Jiri Kovanda, and Katerina Seda, and demonstrates not only the changes in the art forms themselves but also the shifting roles of artists and spectators after World War II. With over one hundred illustrations, Czech Action Art introduces this heretofore overlooked but fascinating art form to a global readership.