Performance Art Archives

Action Art / Live Art / Performance Art archives.

Beyond the books written about performance art, the papers, the conferences, the manifestos, there are people who collect and save, research and notate artists, their work, their stories. These performance art archives can be found around the world and may offer you a great resource for delving into artists work, focus, and motivations from around the world.

Performance Art Archives

  • The African American Performance Art Archive ( – US : makes crucial documentation of historically significant performances by African American artists available on-line to artists, scholars, and students in the spirit of intellectual exchange. I began the archive in order to apply the questions posed by performance artists to the study of art history.  In the process, I hope to give artists a greater voice in scholarly debate and explore what it means to study African American art.
  • Aggora8 – agora8 is a platform for collecting art documents and writings on art. Artists and authors are invited to submit documentation of realised and unrealised projects and a wide range of critical writings on art and artists. Publishing on agora8 gives you access to an internationally diverse audience who could not be physically present in the space and time of production.
  • The Ashkal Alwan library – Beruit, Lebanon : The Ashkal Alwan archive ( aaarchive ) is an invaluable resource for any scholar, artist, and researcher with an interest in the history of contemporary art and discursive practices in the region. An open and active repository of knowledge sharing and research, aaarchive aims to activate Ashkal Alwan’s unique multimedia material as a space for discovering, learning, and sharing, at a moment of rising displacement among Arabic speakers.
  • Asian Art Archive: Live art / performance art – includes but not limited to:
    • The Ray Langenbach Archive of Performance Art : This archive contains video documentation (originally in DV and Hi-8 format) encompassing a spectrum of performances, art festivals, art exhibitions, events, and interviews that shed light into the development, circulation, and reception of performance art in South East Asia spanning over almost two decades since the 1980s.
    • Propositions for an Archive of Performance Art in India : In 2015, Asia Art Archive in India collaborated with the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) to research possibilities for a digital archive of performance art from India, beginning with its emergence in the early 1990s through to 2010.
    • Performances by Yuan Mor’O Ocampo and Other Artists : Performances by Yuan Mor’O Ocampo and other unidentified artists at the 1st Philippines International Performance Art Festival.
    • Performance Art in Singapore : primarily performance and event documentation that sheds light into the development of performance art in Singapore from early 1990s to mid-2000s, including Artists’ General Assembly (AGA), a week-long art festival that led to the prosecution of several people involved, and the proscription of performance art in Singapore in the decade that followed. The majority of material pertains to the performance works by the artists who were part of The Artists Village (TAV), an artist collective founded by artist Tang Da Wu in 1988.
  • Australian Performing Arts Collection – Melbourne, Australia
  • AWARE – Archives of Women Artists Research and Exhibitions
  • Berlinerpool Arts Network – berlinerpool is a non-for-profit platform of artists, curators and project spaces that has been growing since 2005 and is constantly expanding. berlinerpool is a physical and digital archive that provides information on national and international artists, curators and art spaces in Berlin. berlinerpool develops curatorial projects and cooperates with cultural institutions.
  • Black Kit INTERNATIONAL PERFORMANCE ART ARCHIVE – since 1981. 3500 boxes, folders, cases for documents & performance relics. Founded by Boris Nieslony – (Instagram Here)
  • Blaž Lukan: Performance Art and Archive
  • Centre National de la Danse, Mediatheque – France :
  • ECC Performance Art -Europe – ECC Performance Art is an online teaching and research platform dedicated to strengthening the discipline of performance art by providing artists, scholars, and curators with a range of tools and insights for their professional growth. ECC Performance Art offers an extensive course program related to key aspects of performance art practice, its theoretical investigation, as well as its documentation and forms of curation and exhibition.
  • European Live Art Archives – Europe : ELAA is the European Live Art Archive, which is based at Girona University. The aim of ELAA is to share knowledge, experience and documentation of live art throughout the European Union and the focus of our activity is the production of a live art programme, filmed interviews with artists and the organisation of symposia.
  • The Fales Library & Special Collections – US :
  • Franklin Furnace – Pittsburg PA, USA – archives of works presented through their organization
  • GIPCA – Gordon Institute for Performance and Creative Arts – South Africa : The Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) is an interdisciplinary institute in the University of Cape Town’s Humanities Faculty. GIPCA facilitates new collaborative research projects, particularly in the Creative and Performing Arts. Interdisciplinarity, Live Art and Public Spheres are key themes of the Institute, and projects are imbued with innovation, collaboration and a dialogue with urbanism and community. GIPCA was launched in December 2008 with a grant from the Donald Gordon Foundation, and continues its work as a result of a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Institute was launched as the Institute for Creative Arts (ICA) on 5 April 2016.
  • Live Art Archives – Bristol UK – mostly UK focused including: An archive of over 20,000 records of Live Art/Performance Art, primarily from the UK, from the 1980s to the present.  Mostly paper-based, although it does contain some videos and DVDs, audio-tapes and slides.  Includes full sets of Hybrid, Primary Sources and LiveArt magazines.  Also includes a set of Liveartwork DVDs and a complete set of Bobby Baker DVDs from her Daily Life series.
  • Live Art Development Agency – UK – LADA is a Centre for Live Art. All our specialised resources, opportunities, projects and events are driven by our unwavering commitment to experimentation and risk, to the sustainability of our planet, and to difference and diversity in all its forms.
  • Live Art Works – liveartwork editions is a series of DVD publications that aims to present high quality, full length video documentation of some of the most interesting examples of contemporary, international performance art and live art. Published alongside liveartwork DVD, the editions series focuses on an individual artist or a specific performance. Both publications aim to give the individual access to a growing collection of the cutting edge of performance work
  • Mrinalini Mukherjee Archive
  • Museum of Fine Arts Boston – Performance Art Archive – US
  • The Museum of Performance + Design – Research – San Francisco focus – The Museum of Performance + Design collects and makes accessible materials about the performing arts, with a special emphasis on documenting and preserving the San Francisco Bay Area’s rich and diverse performing arts heritage from the Gold Rush to the present. We provide library services to researchers, and conservation and archival services to performing artists and arts institutions.
  • New Museum Digital Archive – Brooklyn US : The New Museum Digital Archive contains documentation of the New Museum’s program and institutional history in the form of images, video, audio, publications and printed matter. 1977 to present.
  • NYU – US : Archive
  • Mediathek Tanzquatier Wien – Austria – online archive
  • Performance Art Archive– Instagram
  • PERFORMANCE ARCHIVING PERFORMANCE : “Performance Archiving Performance,” a presentation of projects that engage archive as medium,”
  • PerformanceLogia – Venezuela – Performancelogía es un proyecto dedicado a la Recopilación, Publicación, Difusión e Intercambio de Documentación sobre Arte de Performance y Performancistas.
  • Performance Magazine Archives – UK – Between 1979-1992 Performance Magazine documented an extraordinary period in the development of art in the UK. With its maverick and punk ethos Performance Magazine embodied an immensely active community of artists, writers and publics that crossed disciplines throughout the late 70s, 80s and the start of the 90s.
  • Performance Matters – Archiving Performance – US –Performance Matters is officially launched with this special double-issue devoted to questions of performance archives and the “archival turn” in performance.
  • Performing Archives/Archives of Performance (book) : Interdisciplinary and global in scope, Performing Archives/Archives of Performance investigates the relationship between live performance and recordings, bringing new—and productive—tensions between permanence and ephemerality into relief. Advancing theoretical understandings and analyzing specific artworks, performances, and archives, the contributors formulate new ways of understanding history, memory, enactment, and intervention, offering major contributions to ongoing critical discussions on performance and its disappearance and reproduction. 
  • Perforum (Switzerland) – Through our Archive and our regular Festival we want to support a historical and contemporary discussion about performance-art and related fields. Our archive is open to the public.
  • Sammlung Maria de Robe – The Maria de Robe Collection is a long-term project, initiated by Joël Verwimp, in order to develop a unique partnership with as many different museums as possible – from the Asian to the Fire Brigade Museum. On the one hand, a special connection between the institute (museum collection) and the audience (eyewitness) is to be created from the perspective of performance art. On the other hand, the collection of performance art beyond documentation procedures is put into practice. The ephemeral quality of performance art is therefore not understood here as immaterial, but the performative, common experience (publicness) is captured as materiality: Collecting life’s unknowns.
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago – US : The John M. Flaxman Library is located at the physical and intellectual heart of the campus. Library staff collaborate with every program at the School to support teaching, learning and research across the entire curriculum at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Hundreds of thousands of books, magazines, movies and sound recordings are available on interdisciplinary topics
  • Solyanka State Gallery, Russia :
  • Stedelijk Studies Issue #3 – Fall 2015 – The Place of Performance – Netherlands
  • Stedelijk Studies – Archives without a Lobby: On the Situation of Institutional Holdings in Galleries and Art Museums – Netherlands
  • Wizya Vidéo Art Action (France) – archive

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