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A word, meaning ‘activity’ or ‘process’, used in German-speaking countries in the context of modern art to refer to works that in Britain and the USA would generally be described as Happenings or Performance art (the plural is ‘Aktionen’, but the word is sometimes anglicized as ‘Action’, with the plural ‘Actions’). Some German-speaking artists prefer it to the English alternatives not only because it is native to their language, but also because it has a feeling of greater seriousness, without the suggestion of art as entertainment conveyed by the English terms. The artists to whose work the word has particularly been applied include Joseph Beuys and the Vienna Actionists.

Subjects: Art.

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