Guerrilla Tactics: Performance Art and the Aesthetics of Resistance in the United States, 1967-1987


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


Art History


This dissertation tracks the deployment of guerrilla tactics in art in the US through five exemplary performance pieces staged by Chris Burden, Adrian Piper, William Pope.L, and artist collectives, Guerrilla Art Action Group and Asco. By examining how each art action recasts the staging of radical politics made legible by the rapidly developing media of network TV and popular film, the project argues that the guerrilla in art is catalyzed in part by the media’s representation of militant resistance, and in part by the artists’ own awareness of their status as socially marked subjects. Such a history of tactics reveals how the gestures and reception of guerrilla activists and guerrilla artists were shaped by common aesthetic and ethical concerns.