Performance Arts is a type of art form that requires an audience. The artist could do the performance either live or via media. It could be scripted or not, random or orchestrated, spontaneous or planned. The audience may also just watch the performance or participate in it. It all depends on the style and creativity of the artist.
The foremost purpose of performance art has almost always been to challenge the conventions of traditional forms of visual art such as painting and sculpture. When these modes no longer seem to answer artists' needs - when they seem too conservative, or too enmeshed in the traditional art world and too distant from ordinary people - artists have often turned to performance in order to find new audiences and test new ideas.
A genre of art-making in which the artwork is the artist performing—usually live but often in a film or video. Performances started occurring in art contexts—galleries, artists studios, museums—in the 1960s, with the rise of Happenings and Fluxus. In the '60s and '70s, artists such as Vito Acconci, Bruce Nauman, Marina Abramovic, Chris Burden, and Yoko Ono explored the possibilities of performance particularly in works which focused on the body (and often the abuse of it). The rise of performance was directly linked to the rise of Conceptual Art and Process Art in the late 1960s: Conceptual Art privileged an object-less art, while Process Art foregrounded the act of making a work over the final piece.
The International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media draws its contributions from academics and practitioner-researchers at the interface of new media technologies and performance. It acts as a forum for critical scholarship, innovative practice, and creative pedagogy, addressing themes that may be domain-specific (e.g. theatre, dance, music, live art, computer science) or situated at the convergence of two or more disciplines.
Performance art is sometimes carefully planned and scripted but can also be spontaneous and random. Although it often takes place in front of an audience and may involve audience participation – or the orchestration of other participants by the artist – it can also be an action performed privately by the artist.
Limiting one's critical focus to a particular group of performance artists or their performances has always seemed inappropriate, since that project would appear to perpetrate the very act of defining and categorizing that anything called performance art actively resists. Nevertheless, the overtly political nature of much women's performance art since the 1960s has invited just such a critical distinction, treating feminist performance as a recognizable sub-genre within the field.