Hey, listen. I’m tired of you calling performance artists crazy and calling crazy people performance artists, ok? Ok. That said, sometimes, when these transgressive pieces are floating around out of context as random .jpgs look strange and kinky. Is it art? Let’s play a guessing game. Up first, this!

PERFORMANCE ART OR FETISH PORN?


Not to be confused with a solo medical fetish, Boryana Rossa’s The Last Valve (2004) is a multi-layered performance piece on ethics in a new technological world and the boundaries of human and machine identity. She stitched up her vulva with a red surgical thread to abolish issues of gender à la the Ultrafuturo Manifesto, channeling the trans-bodies of the human/animal world and the evolved, “emerging artificial manufacture of ‘intelligent’ robotic, biological and cyborgian entities” without gender or sexual determination. So… it’s the opposite of porn?

PERFORMANCE ART OR FETISH PORN?

Some festive D/S and a twink orgy? WRONG! It’s Performance Art. Polish-born Katarzyna Kozyra performs as Lou Salome, a dominatrix over Nietzsche and Rilke men-dogs. It ends with Kozyra humming the aria of the Queen of the Night from The Magic Flute. The whole affair is a layered sublimation of intelectual and erotic archetypes. And then Boys frolic around in prosthetic vaginas and pose for pictures in performative gender. Who says art can’t be fun?

PERFORMANCE ART OR FETISH PORN?

What’s this? A solo performance as a treatise on the two divergent “woman with tractor” ideals — (1) woman the cyber feminist, able to handle machinery as well as a man vs. (2) the obnoxious current Eastern European portrayal of the “woman with tractor” as Stalin’s “perverted” crock to turn females into males? No. It’s porn. Apparently, amateur “teens” and tractors are a thing, especially out in the middle of nowhere in Eastern Europe. But, yes, Boryana Rossa did write about that those tractor theories. No, you can’t read it. It’s in Bulgarian.

PERFORMANCE ART OR FETISH PORN?

Techno-goth breath play shenanigans, uh? Uh? No. Performance art! Istvan Kantor’s Lebensraum / Lifespace – Spectacle of Noise: “This monumental work is impelled by a burning desire to confront the deadening forces that dominate today’s technological system of control.” If the name sounds familiar, Istvan Kantor’s been banned from most of museums around the world for vandal interventions, including painting a X made of blood between two Picassos in New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1988.

PERFORMANCE ART OR FETISH PORN?

The ball gag gives it away, right? Ok, I’ll try harder. And whatever happened to that Kink.com documentary, James Franco?

PERFORMANCE ART OR FETISH PORN?

For his performance piece Art Whore commenting on “the popular trend of commercializing art” that is “nothing but a trade of sex for commercial benefits,” 51-year-old performance artist Cheng Li and a partner got X-rated all over, inside and on top of an art gallery in China. Why this is more hardcore than your average wank fodder: The artist was sentenced to one year in a reeducation camp.

PERFORMANCE ART OR FETISH PORN?

In 2004, artist Andrea Fraser — mistress of satirical institutional critique — exhibited a one-hour silent video piece Untitled wherein she erotically romanced an art collector who reportedly paid $20,000 “not for sex,” but the art work. Ooh, a trend!

PERFORMANCE ART OR FETISH PORN?

Belorussian artist BioNihil slashed the words “every body is illegal” in his chest and went around hugging people at the French institute in Valencia, Spain, stamping their shirts with his blood. Earlier, he smoked a blood, nails and hair-filled bong. He’s a solo man. Not that kind.

PERFORMANCE ART OR FETISH PORN?

Both. Former pornographer Lawrence Weiner teamed up with cinematographer Kiki Allgeier to make a philosophy porno called Water in Milk Exists, comprised of fucking and monologues on Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s quote that “The placing of two bricks together is the basis for all structures.”

PERFORMANCE ART OR FETISH PORN?

Dance, the work of daring choreographer Marie Chouinard. She regards the human body as an infinitely intelligent vehicle and really has no creative bounds, hence the medical themed half-nude ballet bODY_ rEMIX – les vARIATIONS_gOLDBERG that is so sublime and poignant, I dare you to make a dismissive joke. I’ll slap you. That said, pretty sure that’s a sex swing up there.

PERFORMANCE ART OR FETISH PORN?

No, pre-retirement Sasha Grey. No. Maybe. No. Ok, fine.