Conceived as a two-part exhibition, Off the Wall: Thirty Performative Actions, focuses on actions using the body in live performance, in front of the camera, or in relation to a photographic or printed surface, or drawing. Each action displaces the site of the artwork from an object to the body, acting in relation to, or directly onto, the physical space of the gallery. The wall and floor become the stage for these actions: walking on the wall, slamming doors, slapping hands against the wall, gathering sawdust up from the studio floor, walking on a painting, striding and crawling around a small cylindrical space, writing or drawing on the wall and floor, or performing a striptease behind the transparent plane of Duchamp’s Large Glass. The exhibition also includes a number of works that reveal the underlying theatricality of the performative action and the ways in which artists stage the self in images that question conventions of identity, gender, and the body.
The exhibition includes the re-performance of iconic early works by John Baldessari and Yoko Ono, as well as recent works by young artists. It includes work by Vito Acconci, Carl Andre, John Baldessari, Lynda Benglis, Jonathan Borofsky, Trisha Brown, Chris Burden, John Coplans, Simone Forti, Dara Friedman, Jack Goldstein, Lyle Ashton Harris, Jenny Holzer, Peter Hujar, Joan Jonas, Robert Longo, Nate Lowman, Robert Mapplethorpe, Paul McCarthy, Ana Mendieta, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Yoko Ono, Dennis Oppenheim, Yvonne Rainer, Martha Rosler, David Salle, Lucas Samaras, Carolee Schneemann, Richard Serra, Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons, Andy Warhol, Carrie Mae Weems, Hannah Wilke, and Francesca Woodman.