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The practice of performance art has changed radically from the early provocations of Dada through the happenings and body art of the '60s and '70s, to contemporary practices that reincorporate aspects of dance and theater or build on relational aesthetics and social practice.

SMFA’s performance courses help you develop your own voice in creating solo and collaborative work in support of your practice. Courses will familiarize you with a range of approaches to developing original performance work, improve technical production skills, and introduce you to the theories and history of performance art. We encourage you to experiment with different techniques and structures while examining the relationship between audience and artist. Performance work is strengthened through access to a wide variety of photographic, video, sound, and fabrication tools.

Sample Courses

PER 0108 - Transforming Identities / Hybird Performance
Transform aspects of identity including self-expression, gesture, and style/drag/swag with performance exercises, methods, and techniques that upend behavioral binaries.

PER 0161 - Political Action as Art: Law and Immigration
In this class we will examine the creative tactics of contemporary activist-artists and ways of addressing broad definitions of the law and conceptions of civic and public life — from responses to excessive policing to inequities in public policy.

PER 0158 - Painting, Performance, and Installation
This is a hybrid course in which students in painting and/or performance synthesize areas of expertise with installation and new processes and methods. 

PER-0191 - Styles of Live Art
This course is conceived of and structured as laboratory of twentieth-century avant-garde performance styles and movements, including presentational aspects of the Gutai Group, Dadaism, experimental theater, happenings, the Fluxus movement, and diverse examples of contemporary performance art.

PER 0191 - Rave and Performance
Race is a constructed idea that has been a determinant of social hierarchy. This class will be a multiracial and cross-cultural forum and laboratory in which to explore this notion.