Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Marina Abramović


http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/965





Watched a documentary last night on HBO about Marina Abramovic, a Serbian performance artist now in her sixties (and boy, did she look good for 64).

We saw her exhibit at MOMA in 2010. In it, she sits across from anyone who cares to take the chair. She sat there all day for three months, scarcely moving.

Much of her work, in fact all of it, make use of her body. Her body is her canvass. You might get the idea from the link above. The exhibit and Abramovic drove the other viewer in this house crazy because he saw it as narcissistic and self-indulgent, which it was. But I was a bit more tolerant because Abramovic was trying to engage the viewer more than any artist had before. She was available to them and many of the people who sat down across from her were in tears. It all comes down to the question what should art do, I think. What makes something art? Certainly it does not need to be pretty but what does it need to be?

At one point, she said her mother used to come into her room and night and wake her to say she was moving around too much in her bed. "Be still." I guess that was good preparation.

You probably won't come away from this loving the artist but I think you will find her interesting.

Does performance art work for you? Is it more performance than art? Link

11 comments:

Richard R. said...

No, it doesn't. I'll concede it's a form of acting, but art it isn't.

Thomas Pluck said...

I saw Karen Finley's performance a long time ago and liked it. And yes, it is art, it makes you think more than that crap on TV meant to sell soap, which we gladly call "art."
Minimalism like this is meant to silence the everpresent noise of life. Her performance could evoke many things. How often do you see a stranger, up close, without the mask they wear to get through the day? We're always performing. The best photographers get past that act.
I'm not calling her a genius or anything, just that performance art is not always like a one-person show. Art doesn't always have a narrative.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Nice analysis, Thomas. And I especially like the idea that art doesn't need to have a narrative. Now does writing?

Gerard said...

Performance is art. I think a lot of performance art can be narcissistic and stupid. But, I am way, way removed from that artwork and the artist's thinking. I know enough to know my own commentary is without an understanding of what it going on.

I read Finley's autobio that came out in 2000. There was not much about her work but the NEA brouhaha should put a wicked strain on her life.

George said...

I'm with Phil on this one.

Deb said...

Performance Art doesn't do much for me--but I could spend all day looking at Joseph Cornell's boxes, so to each his own, je suppose.

Ron Scheer said...

The notion that something or someone is narcissistic and self-indulgent--where does that judgment come from? The "performance" can end up being about you rather than the "artist."

pattinase (abbott) said...

Well, all of her work focuses on herself. She never speaks of anyone else. At the end of the interview, she asks, "so what do you think of me?" She comes off seeming rather self-obsessed especially in light of all of her art involving her body. I actually felt living inside her skin would be more than I could bear.

Todd Mason said...

Not all art need have a blatant narrative, but there is no escaping narrative, either (any more than there is of escaping genre), even if the narrative is no more elaborate than This is something for you to experience.

Todd Mason said...

It is interesting (to me, at least) how this performance approach to the interaction of strangers is the opposite of speed-dating.

pattinase (abbott) said...

HA! Exactly although both tend to make people cry.