Unpresent with Marina Abramovic

via MoMA Flickr Page

6 months of the year has flown by with high velocity and one thing I regret is not vising enough art shows. Galleries have been visited at a stark minimum in comparison to my weekly hoppings the last few years and museums adventures were rare, especially as I have no cheap way in (I’m really not trying to go the “I’m press” route). The remaining days to Abramovic’s show were dwindling fast and it took til the day before the last for me to finally make the trip to MoMA to see the artist in person. I received advice from friends to get their MAD early, especially as I was determined to be the very first to sit my ass down directly across from THE mother of Performance Art. With sheer obsessive determination I arrived with my Angel at the museum an hour and a half before opening only to be met with a disapproving line where folks have waited since one in the f*uc*ing morning. I was flabbergasted to see this fantastical need to experience the artist herself was shared by others. I stomped my feet and had a temper tantrum knowing there’d be fat chance I get to sit with Marina. We stuck around and waited to get inside upon opening and we marched on upstairs to the atrium when stop, lo and behold, there is, the one and only, Marina, Abramovic. Oh but wait, why the hell are there so many people here already, why are there one, two, three, four, five, six cameras and video cameras? Why is this security guard standing in my way? And there’s like, three of them, whispering to each other and shooing off visitors to stay outside the white tape perimeter. He’s telling the lucky guy who’s next that he has exactly 10 minutes. I thought you could sit an entire day with the artist if you so pleased? “It’s to guarantee everyone has a chance to sit with the artist during the last couple days.” Oh God and these bright lights! These huge photo studio lamps beaming at every corner, it’s cold and harsh and unbearable. At least Marina got rid of the table standing between her and the sitter.

I stood as close as possible, directly behind where the sitter was to get a glimpse of the artist and pretend she were looking into my eyes, and hope that maybe, just maybe she’d avert her gaze and pierce me with her attention, at least for a brief half a second. Even with this proximity, I felt, nothing.

I HATED that this is what my thought process and experience was like. In an attempt to be “present” with the artist, a purifying and meditative act between two individuals gazing within a shared force field, focusing on nothing but the current mindful moment, release all tensions and thoughts and pasts and relations to be present, all that was left in the end was this narcissistic glammed up shitshow. Marina was signing autographs with her eyes for 10 minutes at a time and the visitors have their moment of fame in breathing the same air as the holier-than-thou and get to have their photo taken as they stare blankly, or in many cases, cry in a moment of silent confession.

This would have been exactly what I hoped to have imagined it to be if all these extra particles of annoyance and self-reflecting documentations were gone. The piece would have reached it’s fullest potential if she was sitting in an enclosed room without inexplicably bright lights, without cameras, guards, white tapes, frills, and authorities. It would be pure and uninterrupted, unrecorded, raw, and it’d get her point across FAR more successfully this way. Instead it became her own tv show, nothing but a fad and an empty spectacle.

In reading this, please do consider I’m in a very shitty mood and WILL shit on anything that comes my way.



Filed under Art

5 responses to “Unpresent with Marina Abramovic

  1. I wouldn’t worry about not being able to sit with Marina and to be “present” with her, the Artist. You are in the presence of artists almost everyday of your life, Joann. Marina is just one of them.

  2. tony

    Even if you did sit with her, she wouldn’t have even seen you. She is near-sighted and without glasses, she didn’t see anyone. http://animalnewyork.com/2010/06/marina-abramovic-cant-see-you/

  3. Joann

    I know I know. I got all washed up in the tide, but I swear, i’ve been cast ashore and can walk again.

  4. Joann

    hahahahahahahha omg tony you made my day. this is great.

  5. haha. this is why i love you. : )

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