A Brief History of Outrage

The 51 (or So) Greatest Avant-Garde Moments

38. 1984: Linda Montano and Tehching Hsieh cut the eight-foot rope that has tied them together at the waist for a full year; during that time, they had never touched each other.

39. 1984: To illustrate "the obsolescence of the body," Stelarc suspends himself over East 11th Street by 18 fish hooks stuck through his skin.

40. 1984: Holly Hughes puts lesbian desire onstage in her first dyke noir play, The Well of Horniness.

41. 1986: Karen Finley's scabrous and hilarious monologues like I'm an Ass Man are obscenity in its purest form—never just a litany of four-letter expletives but an attempt to express emotions for which there are no words.

42. 1986: James Luna (Luiseño/Diegueño) displays himself as a relic at the Museum of Man—near the Indian exhibits.

43. 1986: Adrian Piper, an African American artist sometimes mistaken for white, makes calling cards that read: "Dear Friend, I am black. I am sure you did not realize this when you made/laughed at/agreed with that racist remark..."

44. 1988: Artists Marina Abramovic and Ulay cross the Great Wall of China on foot, starting at opposite ends and meeting in the middle.

45. 1988: Guillermo Gómez-Peña's Border Brujo begins to shape the multicultural debate.

46. 1989: Annie Sprinkle inserts a speculum onstage and invites spectators to look at her cervix.

47. 1990: Mexican, Chicano, and Anglo artists from the Border Arts Workshop / Taller de Arte Fronterizo travel from the Gulf to the Pacific in a bus, "suturing the border wound" by planting steel staples with one prong in Mexico, one in the U.S.

48. 1990: Robbie McCauley travels the country to turn remembrances of racial trouble (busing in Boston, voting rights in Mississippi, rioting in Buffalo) into "performance dialogues" between local black and white actors.

49. 1994: Nina Sobell and Emily Hartzell do the first live performance in the history of the World Wide Web.

50. 1996: Mel Chin directs a team of artists inserting vanguard art into the set of television's Melrose Place.

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