Back to THE HISTORY OF THE FUTUREFall 1999/ Winter 2000

Friday, October 8, 1999 The Age of Avant-Garde Innocence:

Michael Smith; Baby Ikki

When I started performing in 1975 I soon became associated with a wave of second-generation conceptual artists nurtured on art from the 70's. Like many of my contemporaries I came from a formalist background; unlike many of them I did not renounce painting, I just dried up. I never quite lost may faith in the modernist trajectory so when faced with the dismantling of everything I had come to believe in, I felt like an innocent bystander witnessing a purge. I became fascinated and confused with this new area called "Performance Art". I'd attend an event thinking I might be mildly entertained but oftentimes I'd be lulled into a stupor by some stultifying activity. The patience I had developed as a minimalist painter prepared me for these ordeals but never thoroughly convinced me that to endure was a virtue. I was clear about wanting to deliver a response to all the excessively serious and self-indulgent work but without knowing exactly what I wanted to say. Comedy seemed like a viable and challenging strategy.

Netcast credit information: Shot by Sidewalk, Inc. Hartford, CT. Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix.

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