Northwestern University’s Block Museum retrospective “A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s-1980s” has managed to garner critical accolades, it seems, from every authority in the field. From The Guardian to Art In America, Moorman’s legacy was lauded, and her example held up as the model of how a leading vanguardist helped reignite a local fervor for performance. That fervor continues today, though the exhibit has long since moved on to show at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery. Its timing couldn’t have been better. Famously displaced by the influences of neoliberalism that made anything-goes the watchword of today’s art world and its markets, the strain of performative avant-gardism that Moorman championed, and helped create, is enjoying a long-overdue reexamination. At a tipping point in its historical back-and-forth between art and commerce, the art community’s current self-reflection owes much of its newly rediscovered conscience to the Moorman exhibit.
Best of Chicago 2016