Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2014

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Interdisciplinary Studies in the Cultural Politics of Intermedia in Performing and Event-Based Arts

First Advisor

Depew, David

First Committee Member

Depew, David

Second Committee Member

Herr, Cheryl

Third Committee Member

McLeod, Kembrew


This dissertation analyzes the institutionalization of avant-garde artistic practice within an American university, the University of Iowa between the years 1967 and 2000. In order to understand the development of the Intermedia program at Iowa, the institutional context of the "Iowa Idea" as it was developed on campus from the 1930s that emphasized the simultaneous instruction of art history and theory with instruction in the graphic and plastic arts. Following the success of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, the University of Iowa received a major grant from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1970 to form the Center for New Performing Arts.

Following the development from Happenings to Intermedia, and gradually into specific "disciplines" of performance art and video art, this dissertation demonstrates how the institution was inseparable from these avant-garde practices which required significant resources to develop. The importance of technology is traced through the digital revolution in the arts, and the role of "intermedia" is shown to be part of a process of changing consciousness as opposed to commonly accepted definitions of "multimedia" or Gesamtkunstwerk.


avant-garde, experimental art, intermedia, multimedia, performance art, University of Iowa


x, 328 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 289-303).


This thesis has been optimized for improved web viewing. If you require the original version, contact the University Archives at the University of Iowa:


Copyright © 2014 Scott Siegling