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structural balance (nine pages on Native American theatre, three pages on gay theatre, including the Ridiculous) to be impressed by the scope of his narrative, the perceptiveness of his insights, and, above all, by his ability to synthesize an enormous amount of material from literature, art history, sociology and theatre. Many set pieces-such as the essays on the theatre and Vietnam, and the Theatre of Images' roots in contemporary art-are well-balanced and wide-ranging. Despite some overextended tangents, Bigsby's ideational thrust keeps his work eminently readable as well as informative . And yet there are some overall conceptual difficulties: one is the aforementioned inability to recognize that "non-serious" work can be particularly expressive of cultural conflict, and that its consideration might well have buttressed social analysis. More basic is the trilogy's misnomer: despite the focus of Volume Two, this work-as my preceding analysis should have made clear-embeds the history of drama in the history of theatre and society. Both the first and third volumes are essentially organized by theatre groups, not playwrights. Indeed, in the last volume, one section on Shepard and Mamet is contained within a structure which considers Performance Theatre (The Living Theatre, Open Theatre, and Performance Group), Theatre of Images (Wilson, Foreman, Breuer), and Theatre of Political Commitment (SF Mime Troupe, Bread and Puppet Theatre, Hispanic, Indian, black, gay, women's theatre). Given Bigsby's social schema it is logical that he should focus on how the dramatic text is realized in public performance rather than on its formal self-sufficiency, but it would have been less misleading to the potential reader to credit this focus in the title of a work which charts the achievement of our theatre in this century with considerable sweep and verve. Gerald Rabkin The Art of Performance Jorge Glusberg International Center for Advanced Studies in Art/New York University Department of Art and Art Education, 102 pp. During the 1960s, American art criticismwas engaged in the most energetic of debates. The terms of these debates centered on the vocabulary of discourse. On the one hand, there was the "Existentialist" mode of discourse, which stressed intentionality as the prerequisite of aesthetic merit. On the other hand, there was the "Modernist" mode of discourse, which made analytical discussion an exemplar of critical methodology. The collapse of critical methodology due to the overdetermination of critical debate has brought about a crisis in criticism, especially as the arts have engaged in alternative practices. One such mode of art practice which has developed has been in terms of performance, and a specific mode of performance activity, linked to the visual arts establishment, was labelled "Performance Art" during the past decade. The problem with criticism about "Performance Art" has been the fact that the history of this mode of artistic practice usually is divorced from 265 developments in theatre, in dance, in music. Art historians assume that the history of the visual arts represents the only history in the arts worth considering . The International Center for Advanced Studies in Art (ICASA) has been publishing a series of monographs and pamphlets, usually derived from lectures and symposia. The Art of Performance by Jorge Glusberg (the co-chairperson of ICASA) follows Performance: Live Art 1909 to the Present by RoseLee Goldberg (Abrams) and The Art of Performance edited by Gregory Battcock and Robert Nickas (Dutton). Glusberg's recitation of the history of performance accentuates a similar litany for those who have been reading about performance, e.g., Hugo Ball and Tristan Tzara, Diaghilev and Satie. Notice little, if any, mention in all these critical works of, say, Isadora Duncan, Ellen Terry, George Bernard Shaw, Max Reinhardt, Adolf Appia; this oversight on Glusberg's part simply takes over from the similar oversights in Goldberg's work. (In the Battcock and Nickas anthology , Goldberg is selected as the historian, and her uninformed historical data have become the standard for Performance Art history.) This problem in Glusberg's text is compounded by another, more serious problem : Glusberg cannot assign a particular vocabulary to his critical enterprise . He will begin an argument in terms of a semiological vocabulary, assigning the impression of logic to his statements...


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pp. 265-266
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