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Marina Abramovic performing Joseph Beuys’ How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare (1965) at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Nov. 13, 2005
Photo by Kathryn Carr
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by Grant Mandarino

In the eyes of many today, stodgy mediums like painting and sculpture can’t compete with performance when it comes to subverting esthetic and social norms. Insofar as it insists upon fluidity between art and life, "the performative," so the boosters bleat, retains a radical edge all other forms of artistic practice have lost. It’s the final refuge of avant-gardism.