Performance / Media / Art / Culture (Book)

Selected Essays 1983-2018

Experience the interdisciplinary performance scene of the 1980s and beyond through the eyes of one of its most compelling witnesses. Jacki Apple’s Performance / Media / Art / Culture traces performance art, multimedia theatre, audio arts, and dance in the United States from 1983 to the present. 

Edition

Experience the interdisciplinary performance scene of the 1980s and beyond through the eyes of one of its most compelling witnesses. Jacki Apple’s Performance / Media / Art / Culture traces performance art, multimedia theatre, audio arts, and dance in the United States from 1983 to the present. Showcasing thirty-five years of Apple’s critical essays and reviews, the collection explores the rise and diversification of intermedia performance; how new technologies (or rehashed old technologies) influence American culture and contemporary life; the interdependence of pop and performance culture; and the politics of art and the performance of politics.
 
Apple writes with a journalist’s attention to the immediacy of account and a historian’s attention to structural aesthetic and personal networks, resulting in a volume brimming with big ideas but grounded in concentrated reviews of individual performances. Many of the pieces featured in this collection originally appeared in small press journals and magazines that have now gone out of print. Preserved and republished here for current and future readers, they offer a rich portrait of performance at the end of the millennium.

Jacki Apple is an American visual, performance and media artist, audio composer, writer, director, producer and educator whose diverse artistic career has encompassed a wide range of media and forms including multimedia installations, interdisciplinary performance, audio, radio, photography, video, film, artist books, drawings, site specific works and public art projects. 

Marina LaPalma was a founder of Kelsey Street Press in Berkeley in the 1970s and a performance artist and art critic in Los Angeles in the 1980s.

'For several decades now, Jacki Apple's astute observations of the arts,
performance and culture in Los Angeles have added profound insight to this still
burgeoning landscape populated by the movers and shakers who flock here. Her
history as an artist in her own right expands the depth and comprehension of her
analysis. She has been an influencer in the truest sense, advancing the cultural
discussion with erudition and compassion. Among the annals of tomes
dedicated to understanding why LA is so significant, so centripetal, this is a long-
awaited addition.'

Tony Abatemarco, Playwright, Performer, Co-Artistic Director - Skylight Theatre Company

'Writing with deep historical knowledge, compassion and generosity, Jacki Apple
is an artists’ critic, always seeking first to reveal and then to celebrate the heart of
a performance, no matter what the medium. Her fearless radicalism, tempered by
a refreshing sense of humour, uncovers buried roots while also posing the most
essential cultural question: how does this art help us understand who we are? I
am particularly enthralled by the final section, Concerning Nature, essential
reading during a time when ecocidal capitalism has surely reached the breaking
point.'

Gregory Whitehead, Artist/writer

'Jacki Apple’s writing about the temporal arts stuns the reader with its capacity
to contextualise projects historically. She weaves together diverse cultural
interventions with an urgency about their meaning for this crucial moment in the
world.'

Beverly Naidus, artist, author, activist and Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts, University of Washington, Tacoma

'Jacki Apple has always made works that come at you from every possible angle.
As composer, performer, writer and cultural detective, she is fearless at pushing
the boundaries of her own work, while simultaneously providing platforms for
other artists to push their own possibilities. This book has been brewing for over
35 years. It is the story of what where when why and how we are in this culture
now, told by a vital participant and invaluable witness.'

Terry Allen, Artist 2019

'Jacki Apple is a tireless advocate for the aesthetic, the generative, for art that intervenes and illuminates. She is the rare artist who is generous and revelatory,
bringing enormous skill and knowledge to the work of fellow artists crossing
many disciplines, as do her own intricate and multifaceted creations.'

Jeff McMahon, Performer and writer. Associate Professor, Arizona State University

'Jacki Apple has always been a fair and thoughtful advocate of the arts. There are
so few writers with her depth and knowledge around. Expansive and generous,
Jacki writes with an open, inclusive heart.'

Ping Chong, Artistic director, Ping Chong and Company

'Jacki Apple’s heightened artistic perception has opened my eyes to the meaning of my early visceral raw performances from the 1980’s to the present more theatrically polished ones. Her insightful critical writing not only changed the way I understood my own work and its role in pushing boundaries and breaking taboos, but also the performance work of my peers in times of political pressure. For anyone who wants to understand this history, this book is eye-opening.'

John Fleck, Performance artist

'Jacki Apple’s accurate, intimate, gracious, erudite and insightful writing
provides a front row seat to an expanding cultural big-bang. This book is a gift to
those of us determined to understand the who, the where, the when, the how and
the why of the tectonic shifts that brought social interaction into the scope and
insight of art makers. Her enthusiasm for the subject coupled with a commitment
to her readers makes for learning more than history. She makes the history feel
contemporary.'

Conrad Gleber PhD, Media artist
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