Performance, Art and Ethnography

  • Sarah Butler Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
Keywords: performance, contemporary art, ethnography, reflexivity, social constructivism


The history of performance art can be compared with the social sciences pursuit of cultural critique and commentary. Methods and theoretical frameworks are borrowed from anthropological field research throughout this analysis of Montreal artist Olivia BOUDREAU's 2007 performance Salle C. Exploring performance art through ethnography provides reflexive, context-dependent renderings of time-sensitive work—acknowledging both artists' and visitors' perspectives. This is an interpretation of performance (not limited to traditional formal and material culture analyses) that seeks to demonstrate an ethnographic rendering of performance, and performative appreciation of audience and artist. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0802346


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Author Biography

Sarah Butler, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
Sarah BUTLER is a masters fellow and curatorial assistant at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York, where she pursues their joint design history program with Parsons, The New School for Design. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology and a Graduate Certificate in Computation and Design Arts from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. Her work engages the generative relationships between cultures and designed environments, with a special interest in public art and display culture.
How to Cite
Butler, S. (2008). Performance, Art and Ethnography. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 9(2).