Up from the Underground

Published November 14, 2013

Operating on the fringes in SoHo lofts, storefronts, and public spaces, a generation of radicalized New York artists quite literally took to the streets to redefine the lexicon of performance art. “Rituals of Rented Island: Object Theater, Loft Performance, and the New Psychodramaâ??Manhattan, 1970-1980,” opening this month at the Whitney Museum in New York, illuminates a formative decade of experimental productions. Fostered in spaces like the Kitchen and Artists Space with themes addressing politics, the media, and the commercial world through the lens of personal experience, “artists were organizing themselves and taking control of how and where their work was presented in new ways,” says curator Jay Sanders. With works from Yvonne Rainer, Jill Kroesen, Vito Acconci, Laurie Anderson, and Mike Kelley, the exhibition presents film, set installations, as well as new and revival performances, chronicling what Sanders calls a “secret history” of ’70s art.