“As part of the Weisman Art Museum’s creative collaboration residency, I will explore the question: What is behavioral art? It’s a term from China—行为艺术 (xíngwéi yìshù)—that I borrow and adapt. There, behavioral art is typically shocking, extremely physical, and political. Here in the U.S. we would call it performance art, but I’m interested in a more usable everyday version of behavior that brings together art, healing, and activism. I want it to be approachable and participatory yet still radical in the context of one’s personal life.
“To study this larger question I will bring the practice called Don’t You Feel It Too? (DYFIT), now in its eleventh year, and its community of practitioners as an example of behavioral art to study in the context of the museum and the University. DYFIT is the daring and simple act of dancing your inner life in public, a form of movement meditation that transforms the self while taking action in the world. In our investigation we will naturally approach another question: when does art become a way of being, entering into life’s awarenesses, even becoming a daily resource for living well?
“Because this new field of art is essentially interdisciplinary—creating flexible borders with multiple art forms as well as with other disciplines and ideas such as psychology, health, activism, spirituality, and liberation—I am excited to situate this exploration at the University where there are many opportunities for encounters with various scholars to shape and give life to behavioral art’s emergence and establishment.”
Museum/Life (August 2019)
In this workshop, a team of creatives led by Young and Aki Shibata lived at WAM for two days, transforming the museum into a place of live experimentation, healing, and deepening of human relations. Through reenactment of historic performance art pieces, performing museum labor, and daily personal rituals, the workshop participants created a routine where individual relationships and relationships with art merge into a single process: life. Learn more about the event here >>
School of Behavioral Art (February 2018)
Marcus Young 楊墨 led students from HECUA’s Art for Social Change program in re-enacting and re-interpreting seminal works of performance art. They explored how re-enacting is an important strategy for studying performance art and how the works are scores that border on life action and behavior. They also asked: can these works help make a case for a genre of “behavioral art”—art that comes from everyday action and becomes useful instructions for new lived forms. Works explored include performance art by Marina Abramovic, Yoko Ono, Tehching Hsieh, Emma Sulkowicz, and Mierle Laderman Ukeles. Visitors were welcomed to observe and participate.