This article investigates the claim of body artists who produced work in California in the 1960s and 1970s that their specific mode of performance overcame the mimetic characteristics conventionally associated with the arts. According to these artists (and associated theorists), this was achieved through immediacy and corporeal presence - components considered integral to body art in general. By sharing a common focus on the flesh and the corporeal frame as the potential site of the merging between art and life, Califomian body artists from this period examined the traditional binary divisions of life/art and presence/absence via the idea of the body as both subject and object of their art. Through an examination of work of key artists such as Chris Burden (Shoot and Bed Piece), Linda Montano (Living with Pauline Oliveros in the Desert for Ten Days), Lynn Hershman (Roberta Breitmore), Dennis Oppenheim (Reading Position for Second Degree Bum), and Tom Marioni (The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art), I aim to assert that although Califomian body artists claimed they overcame these traditional divisions, their approach did nothing more than reinstate the very binaries they sought to negate.
Kanngieser, A. 2004. The question of authenticity in 1960s - 1970s Californian body art: Posing a challenge to a concept of presence. Australasian Drama Studies Journal 44: 65-77.