Art History Business

Successful Single Ladies in Art

The happy lonely life of Zaha Hadid, Julia Peyton-Jones and Marina Abramovic

My life is confined to a couch, a computer, a book, my phone, and Apple TV. Oh, and I have coloring pencils and white paper just in case I get desperate. Why? Simply because my knee was crushed, pulverized and manhandled last week. It was felt up on a sunny morning in a surgery room in Bern, like a slutty teen in the back of a pickup truck in 1963. I’ve digested magazines back to back, procrastinated on reading the last ten pages of my book because I don’t want it to end, skimmed over endless movie trailers online to pick one film, and I’ve starred at my dangling foot and a pack of ice over my knee that is currently the size of an elephant more than I’ve dared to look at myself in the mirror in the past week. It’s not about vanity; it’s about the blasting pain I feel when I get up and the blood rushes back to my foot. Surgery is the price to pay for the ski season. After all, I do live in Zurich and when in Switzerland – ski, or so the saying should, well, say.

Finally, I came across an article on Marina Abramovic in the June UK Harper’s Bazaar that agreed with me – or rather with my last post. Just in case you missed it, it was about Abramovic’s performance this summer in the Serpetine Gallery where she will be walking around interacting with visitors for 65 days. There will be nothing to frame, nothing to buy, nothing of nothing. And as the author of the article states, “when the work is, you, alone, occupying a gallery for three months and inviting people to interact with you, where does the work stop and ‘you’ begin?” Dammit! I’m just sad that she (the author) was able to put it more eloquently than me…

But no time to sob about it, I salute Miss Sophie Elmhirst for her precision and let that be that.

The point of all this is that this article was the culmination of a chain of thought; the cherry on top of the cake on a series of three different stories (curiously all in that same magazine) about three outstanding, powerful and successful women in the arts that have already been written in the history books. However, none of them are married or have children. Is that a price to pay? I’m talking about the great architect Zaha Hadid; London’s Serpentine Gallery’s director for 23 years, Julia Peyton-Jones, and of course my beloved Marina.

Since we’re on a first name basis, Zaha said, “…With architecture, if you stop, it’s hard to go back. It’s long hours, lots of travel. If you have kids, it’s not obvious how to make it work… When I could have had kids, it just didn’t occur to me”. In between these two remarks the author states that Hadid is childfree. It’s not offensive but it just sounds so incredibly sad, doesn’t it? Or is that just me being old fashioned and having my scary maternal side starting to come out? Yes, this issue about children and society’s expectations of a woman, etc. can be debated from so many different angles but at the end of the day, if life is so ephemeral and we have no idea when it will end, and we as women have the innate ability of being beautiful, portable ovens for tiny humans, why not live life to the fullest of our physical abilities?

Marina, however, knew that she would never have children. She says that everyone has one source of energy and if you have kids, you’re forced to divide that energy. As a result, “it is impossible to be a great artist and raise children”.

Again, does that make anyone else sad? Unfortunately I’ve come to realise that other great female artists like, Cindy Sherman, Tracey Emin, Georgia O’Keeffe, Yayoi Kusama and Frida Kahlo also don’t or didn’t have kids!

Now I’m sad! I think it’s time I stop writing and take out those coloring pencils.

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4 comments on “Successful Single Ladies in Art

  1. BUENOS DIAS ANDREA…

    ESE PRIMER PARRAFO ES UNA PARTE DE UN ENSAYO O ES ALGO QUE TE PASO? SI ES LO ULTIMO, QUE HORRIBLE, CUIDATE MUCHO, PORQUE EN ORTOPEDIA LA BUENA FUNCION DE A LARGO PLAZO Y EL DOLOR CRONICO DEPENDE DE LOS BUENOS CUIDADOS DE LOS PRIMEROS MESES, REPOSO, ANALGESICOS, ANTIINFLAMATORIOS, REDUCIR EL HINCHAZON O EDEMA, ETC. EN LO QUE TE PUEDA COLABORAR NO DUDES EN PREGUNTAR, SON MEDICO, ANESTESIOLOGO, INTENSIVISTA, EPIDEMIOLOGO Y MBA Y ESTUDIO ARTE Y PINTO COMO ENTRETENIMIENTO. ANIMO Y CUIDATE.

    DE TI COMENTARIO DE MARINA

    NO ES FACIL ENTENDER EL PEFORMANCE, LO QUE SI ES CLARO ES QUE APARECIO EN LA HISTORIA DEL ARTE Y SE QUEDO, EN COLOMBIA, EN LA BIACI (BIENAL INTERNACIONAL DE ARTE CONTEMPORANEO 2014) HUBO MUCHISIMO PERFORMANCE, ES DIFICIL DE INTERPRETAR, DE ANALIZAR, DE COSTEAR EN “ART BUSINESS”, ETC.

    LO QUE YO ME PLANTEO ES QUE EL ARTE VA A TENER QUE SER DIVIDIDO EN DIFERENTES BIENALES, LAS DE PERFORMANCE, LAS DE PINTURA, LAS DE INSTALACIONES, LAS DE ESCULTURA, ETC, PORQUE CADA UNA TIENEN SUS PROPIAS TENDENCIAS, PROPIAS CRITICAS, PROPIOS COSTOS, ETC.

    HUBO UN COMENTARIO MUY INTERESANTE EN NEW YORK CUANDO AL FRENTE DE ELLA SE SENTO EL EX-ESPOSO, BIEN INTERESANTE LA RESPUESTA EMOCIONAL DE AMBOS EN ESE MOMENTO Y PIRNSO QUE LO LLAMATIVO DE ESTE PERFORMANCE ERAN LAS MANIFESTACIONES EMOCIONALES QUE PRODUCIA EL CEREBRO ANTE LA PERSONA QUE SE SENTABA AL FRENTE O VICEVERSA Y ESTAS SALIDAS EMOCIONALES ERAN LA EXPRESION ARTISTICA DEL MOMENTO, EMOCIONES QUE TAMBIEN SE LIBERAN AL FRENTE DE UNA PINTURA PERO CREADAS EN ESTE CASO POR EL PERFORMANCE.

    TU TIENES RAZON, MARINA ES MARINA

    UN SALUDO

    • Hola Erick,

      Si, la primera parte (sobre la operacion) es algo que me paso – llevo asi dos semanas. Es lo peor porque soy muy inquieta! Pero estoy haciendo todo por hacer todo lo que dices.
      Con respecto a lo de Marina, estoy de acuerdo con que es muy interesante la respuesta emocional que su ‘performance’ en el MOMA causo porque hasta yo, que hice fila por muchas horas, no logre estar enfrente de ella mas de 6 o 7 minutos. No se si depronto tuvo algo que ver el tener a tanta gente alrededor solo viendote. No se si soy tan fan del arte que no es tangible porque no se le ve la mano del artista. No hay lo que en ingles se llamaria, craftsmanshio. Yo creo que en terminos de historia del arte, el performance art es interesante, pero hoy es dia la verdad no. Es mucho por shock que nada. Pero regresamos a lo mismo, Marina es celebridad! Marina es Marina.

      Gracias por comentar!

  2. Lots of health Andrea! Maybe this story will cheer you up a little bit: https://worksthatwork.com/artefacts/inflatable-museum

    • Thank you!

      That’s a new concept I had never ever heard of! Maybe they should do the nomad exhibition that Gregory Colbert did in his museum designed by Simon Velez. Just in case someone with a really big needle decided to pierce the poor inflatable museum!

Let me know your thoughts!

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