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Greenwich Village 1963: Avant-Garde Performance and the Effervescent Body Hardcover – September 9, 1993

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (September 9, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082231357X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822313571
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,434,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Despite the oblique subtitle, this is an engaging piece of cultural history and analysis. Banes ( Terpsichore in Sneakers: Post-Modern Dance ) declares 1963 a watershed year, the peak of the transition between the 1950s and 1960s. The avant-garde neighborhood of Greenwich Village produced "the first generation of postmodern artists," mixing vanguard and popular culture. Banes offers a genealogy of the neighborhood, then shows how art and arts institutions like the Living Theater helped reconstitute community there. Her approach is thematic: she explores avant-garde artists' appropriation of folkloric techniques and suggests that choreographers like Yvonne Rainer and artists like Andy Warhol mirrored the "equalizing impulse of the Sixties" in their work. She discusses the impact of growing racial consciousness on an art world in flux, and shows how American art became caught up in Cold War cultural competition with the Soviets. Most interesting is her analysis of how, during a time when American culture began to liberate the body, artists led the way with portrayals of the "effervescent body"--concerned with eating, excretion, birth and death. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Sally Banes . . . has provided her readers with a sympathetic yet finely nuanced account of the artistic explorations of this avant-garde and of its attempts to interrogate the norms and values of the dominant culture." --Leslie Fishbein," The Journal of American History"

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In Sally Banes' historical look at the art scene in Greenwich Village in 1963 and 1964, one gets a dense book of information that covers the kind of art made, the creative processes involved, and the key players within this New York season of art. She chooses to look at dance (Judson Church), underground film, the Fluxus movement, Pop Art, and theater (Living Theater, Open Theater, LaMama, Cafe Chino). This all inclusiveness is beneficial in her points on this era's sense of community, equality, and freedom of expression.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I believe that it is chock full of historical knowledge that will benefit artists and art lovers alike. I do however wish that I could make my parents read it. That could be considered one downfall of this publication. It is interesting for me to read, as a choreographer, but it is lacking a sense of awareness for the non-artist. I also felt that Banes has an annoying writing trait of repeating herself.
I would recommend reading this book. It is a good introduction to the people and the era of the early sixties. The most interesting chapters were when Banes chose to contextualize and involve social and political facts/theories with what the artists motivations were. I particularly enjoyed the section covering LeRoi Jones (Baraka) and his plays.
It is interesting because we are still in the thick of post-modern art. Even though this book is a historical look back at New York's downtown, it points out common themes that are in the art world today. For example, feminist pedagogy, taking art from everyday life, community through art, and political art are concepts embraced by dancers, painters, actors, and independent film makers across America.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By tyron crawleee on May 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
the coming together of once repressed forces-cagean chance, dada nihilism, artaudian viscerality surfacing as -performance/dance/music/writing/film fused alogically-much like the experiments at black mountain- 1963 may very well have been the culmination and dissolution ? of significant art in NYC. this is a well researched, symapathetic account of that period.
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