Tim Scott quotes from and comments on “But is it Art?” (OUP 2001), a book by Cynthia Freeland.
“… Rituals of many world religions involve rich colour, design, and pageantry. But ritual theory does not account for the sometimes strange intense activities of modern artists, as when a performance artist uses blood. For participants in a ritual, clarity and agreement of purpose are central; the ritual reinforces the community’s proper relation to God or nature through gestures that everyone knows and understands. But audiences who see and react to a modern artist do not enter in with shared beliefs and values… Most modern art, in the context of theatre, gallery or concert hall, lacks the background reinforcement of pervasive community belief that provides meaning…” (P.4)
I am sure many of us have attended these ‘performance’ ‘artworks’ and the above strikes me as eminently true. TS