Performance art seems best served by the presence of an audience. So much is lost when one can't feel the audience sweating, groaning, chanting along with the performer as he or she tests its physical, emotional, and psychic limits. At "Rituals of Rented Island: Object Theater, Loft Performance, and the New Psychodrama — Manhattan, 1970–1980," an exhibition at the Whitney on early performance art, there are no live performances in the space of the galleries. Instead, they're represented by whatever archival material remains from the original happenings — photographs, scripts, notebooks, drawings, costumes, installations, and, in some cases, grainy videos playing on televisions. Most of the documents will read like hieroglyphs to those who weren't at the original performances — or those who haven't done research on these ephemeral... More >>>