Nothing is scarier than a white page; especially this white page as it is an attempt to comment on a subject that I am openly admitting that I know nothing about. However, I feel that my ignorance in the matter is just what is needed.
The alarm went off yesterday morning; I opened one eye and limped out of bed across the room to turn it off (I have a brace on my knee). First thing I saw in my inbox was an article from The Guardian about Marina Abramovic’s scheduled performance this summer in London’s Serpentine gallery. I thought to myself, I can’t wait to go see it! But then I thought, why do I actually want to go see it? Abramovic will be going beyond the object (not sure what that means) and she will literally be wondering around the gallery for 65 days. Visitors will be asked to leave their belongings at the entrance, including watches, jackets, bags, etc., and just go in and have an encounter with her.
So, again… why do I actually want to go to the performance?
Oh, of course – because she is Marina Abramovic, a rock star artist: a celebrity. It might sound lame and superficial, but that’s the way I feel. In 2010 I stood in line for about two and a half hours waiting to sit in front of her and stare when she did “The Artist is Present” performance at MoMa. By the time I actually sat down, I don’t think I lasted more than 6 minutes. I felt insecure, like she was looking inside of me. Powerful stuff.
But getting back to the subject – I told you already, I don’t know anything about Performance Art. Do you? The overall gist of it is that it is live and it is not theater; it cannot be bought or traded; and the live actions that the artist does is the actual work of art. Basically it’s intangible art (not that art has to be tangible; does it?). I’m not interested in telling you the history of Performance Art because I’d rather that you savor this beautiful gift of innocence (or blissful ignorance?) on the subject so that you can make up your own mind as to why you would take part of this performance. Is it because of the celebrity artist or the actual ‘performance’ consisting of an encounter where you are ‘aware’ that you are coming across a certain someone – who happens to be famous? Is the fame factor a factor at all?
Historically and theoretically I understand and respect Performance Art but today, I see it more as a fashionable trend than anything else. Think about it – if it was a random, unknown person that you are going to go into a gallery to run into in silence, maybe exchange a glance or two, why would you go? The room itself won’t be different. There will be no music or change of temperature; just footsteps. But if I tell you that you will have an encounter with the great and iconic Marina Abramovic, one of the pioneers of Performance Art, the situation changes. Doesn’t it? There is something clearly there. The woman is 67 years old and this is what she’s done all of her life! So assuming that this is the good (I am no one to judge) let’s mention the bad.
Innovative performance art took place in the 1960s and 70s when Marina Abramovic herself and other artists such as Carolee Schneemann and Chris Burden were really delivering ‘it’ righteously. But now it seams like just about anything is performance art and just about anyone has something to say. Last April during Art Cologne, Swiss artist, Milo Moire decided to give birth literally to an artwork outdoors by the entrance of the fair, completely nude, as she squeezed eggs filled with paint out of her vagina… No comment. All I have to say is through the words of blogger Jonathan Jones who so poetically put it, “if you are wowed by it, you are either susceptible to pseudo-intellectual guff, or lying.” HA!
However… the question remains, will I go see Marina Abramovic’s performance this summer in London?
Because Marina is Marina.
The Guardian article by Emma Brockes
The PlopEgg Painting Performance by Milo Moire
Travel changes lives & Art prolongs it.
Share The Bird, spread the love.
Copyright Andrea Wild Botero
*Cover picture: Marina Abramovic Saves the World by Harper’s Bazaar 10/14/2013.
**Image in text: Taken from Lisson Gallery site, courtesy of Marina Abramovic and Sean Kelly Gallery, NYC.