For more than two decades, feminist theater troupes, playwrights, comedians, and performance artists have challenged convention, raised consciousness, and provoked controversy. Acting Out is the first collection of essays to critically examine the impact that these performers, from the Women's Experimental Theater in the 1970s to contemporary artists such as Madonna, Karen Finley, Cherrie Moraga, Holly Hughes, and Anna Deavere Smith, have had on Anglo-American culture. These original essays cover a variety of subjects including alternative theater, the diversity of feminist aesthetic strategies, stand-up comedy and the politics of gender, lesbian sexuality, and the antifeminist, anti-abortion demonstrations of Operation Rescue.
Both a critical account of contemporary feminist performance and an illustration of its depth and diversity, Acting Out is essential reading for anyone interested in feminist theory, sexual difference, queer theory, or the politics of contemporary performance. Contributors include Philip Auslander, C. Carr, Kate Davy, Joyce Devlin, Elin Diamond, Jill Dolan, Hilary Harris, Lynda Hart, Lynda M. Hill, Julia Malnig, Vivian M. Patraka, Peggy Phelan, Janelle Reinelt, Sandra L. Richards, Amy Robinson, Judy C. Rosenthal, Rebecca Schneider, Raewyn Whyte, and Yvonne Yarbro-Bejarano.
About the Author
Peggy Phelan is the Ann O’Day Maples Chair in the Arts Professor of Theater & Performance Studies and English. Publishing widely in both book and essay form, Phelan is the author of Unmarked: the politics of performance (Routledge, 1993); Mourning Sex: performing public memories (Routledge, 1997; honorable mention Callaway Prize for dramatic criticism 1997-1999); the survey essay for Art and Feminism, ed. by Helena Reckitt (Phaidon, 2001, winner of “The top 25 best books in art and architecture” award, amazon.com, 2001); the survey essay for Pipilotti Rist (Phaidon, 2001); and the catalog essay for Intus: Helena Almeida (Lisbon, 2004). She edited and contributed to Live Art in Los Angeles, (Routledge, 2012), and contributed catalog essays for Everything Loose Will Land: 1970s Art and Architecture in Los Angeles (Mak Center, 2013), Haunted: Contemporary Photography, Video, and Performance (Guggenheim Museum, 2010); WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution (Museum of Contemporary Art, 2007); and Andy Warhol: Giant Size (Phaidon, 2008), among others. Phelan is co-editor, with the late Lynda Hart, of Acting Out: Feminist Performances (University of Michigan Press, 1993; cited as “best critical anthology” of 1993 by American Book Review); and co-editor with Jill Lane of The Ends of Performance (New York University Press, 1997). She contributed an essay to Philip Ursprung’s Herzog and De Meurron: Natural History (CAA, 2005).
She has written more than sixty articles and essays in scholarly, artistic, and commercial magazines ranging from Artforum to Signs. She has written about Samuel Beckett for the PMLA and for The National Gallery of Ireland. She has also written about Robert Frost, Michael and Paris Jackson, Olran, Marina Abramovic, Dziga Vertov and a wide range of artists working in photography, dance, architecture, film, video, music, and poetry. She has edited special issues of the journals Narrative and Women and Performance. She has been a fellow of the Humanities Institute, University of California, Irvine; and a fellow of the Humanities Institute, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. She served on the Editorial Board of Art Journal, one of three quarterly publications of the College Art Association, and as Chair of the board. She has been President and Treasurer of Performance Studies International, the primary professional organization in her field. She has been a fellow of the Getty Research Institute and the Stanford Humanities Center. She won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2004. She chaired the Department of Performance Studies at New York University and the Drama Department at Stanford University.