Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Restricted Access (SIA Only)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Contemporary Art

First Advisor

Agnes Berecz

Second Advisor

Morgan Falconer


This paper explores various controversies within female performance art during the
1960s and 1970s in the United States, specifically performances where the artists is nude. It largely highlights the New York scene across two decades but does not only explore the artists working on the East Coast. Through focusing on performances from a multitude of women artists, this paper hopes to uncover why there were controversies with these performances. In addition, the study of works will focus on the nude female body often as the primary material within the work. While much of this paper will use the term “female” because of the presence of
female genitalia in the performances, it is important to note that this paper is in no way claiming that genitals equate to gender or sex equates to gender. The categorization of works into active and passive categories hopes to understand better the artists' intentions and the public’s reaction to the works. Before this paper finds itself in the nitty gritty of the 1960s and 1970s scene, it is
essential first to understand the roots of performance art and better acknowledge those who, while having a significant impact on the field, will not be explored further in this paper.