|dc.description.abstract||Skip Arnold’s performances consist of an attempt to become an object, typically by way of a singular action repeated or sustained over a difficult duration. As such, in actions since the early 1980s, he has created bluntly mimetic embodiments of a statue, gargoyle, scarecrow, fountain, or freight. In Marks (1984), Closet Corner (1987), and Hood Ornament (1992), I argue, the categories of the object and the subject vacillate in their distinctness, in such a way that the resulting work of art overtakes or undermines the integrity, or ontological safety, of the body that performs it. In Shoot Me (1992), however, becoming an object raises political questions about the uneven distribution of the right to full subjectivity and the threat or disaster of being turned into an object (for example, a corpse) against one’s will. Arnold’s performances therefore revel in the difficulties of approaching (or ‘pornotroping’) human subjects as mute or inactive things, and the vital, consequential liveliness of objects in performance.
This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Johnson, D. (2020), Rudimentary Things: Becoming an Object in the Performances of Skip Arnold. Art History, 43: 538-563. doi:10.1111/1467-8365.12509, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8365.12509. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.||en_US