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High Performance magazine records document the publication's content, editorial process and administrative history during its quarterly run from 1978-1997. Founded as a magazine covering performance art, the publication gradually shifted editorial focus first to include all new and experimental art, and then to activism and community-based art. Due to its extensive compilation of artist files, the archive provides comprehensive documentation of the progressive art world from the late 1970s to the late 1990s.
Linda Burnham, a public relations officer at University of California, Irvine, borrowed $2,000 from the university credit union in 1977, and in a move she described as "impulsive," started High Performance magazine. Burnham's belief in the transformative power of performance art had developed from her personal discovery of feminism and feminist art, which was an important aspect of much performance art at this time; her exposure to a number of early artists, such as Barbara Smith and Nancy Buchanan, UCI alumnae, who were still performing in the area; and especially her experience of seeing Chris Burden interviewed on television by Regis Philbin and realizing that others did not share her intense, positive reaction to his work. As the first magazine devoted exclusively to performance art, High Performance documented both the budding, local Los Angeles performance art movement, and its national and international counterparts, publishing artists whose work would not have been covered in more mainstream publications.
216.1 Linear Feet(318 boxes, 29 flatfile folders, 1 roll)
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Open for use by qualified researchers, with the exception of unreformatted audio-visual and computer materials, and the business files in Boxes 167-170, which will remain sealed until 2076.