Posts Tagged ‘marina abramovic’

this recording reviewed paper cone stories, an event i’ve never heard of but may or may not be hosted by a present-or-past girlfriend of a boy i used to know. anyway the synopses of readings seem both apt and witty and worth listening to. someone named akiva gottlieb was talking about the man who grabbed the backside of one of abramovic’s performers and this is what he said:

For certain liberal arts school graduates, the Abramovic retrospective is our Woodstock, the cultural happening that enables us to stare meaningfully into the eyes of strangers, brush against body parts, watch women run through a muddy field while stripping off layers of clothing, and generally revel in the various possibilities of naked flesh under the guise of an artistic experience. It’s a lot like ChatRoulette, actually, and it’s making New York very comfortable.


also while visiting the college graduation of some friends this past weekend i was lucky enough to meet a former housemate’s 16-year-old brother, a young man sporting an eyebrow ring and jeggings. he had recently seen the retrospective and an interesting conversation about nudity and voyeurism in art ensued until all of a sudden he remembered he was only 16 and was all “yeah dude it was so weird squeezing between naked people especially cuz one of them was a dude heh heh heh it was kinda hot though”. then i wondered if all of my cultural and sociological musings are for real or if i’m merely trying to prove to myself that i’m not, in fact, a 16-year-old boy laughing about naked people and covering up these oh-so-base instincts with lofty vocabulary and concepts borrowed from an art history textbook.

art is weird man especially when it has no clothes.

[ stefanie ]

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a little while ago i rambled about marina abramovic’s current exhibition at moma, but my research was faulty and i didn’t realize how many (approximately 50!) pieces were actually part of the artist is present. in the title work, ms abramovic sits for seven hours a day and viewers are allowed to sit across from her for as long as they’d like, and stare at her. she stares back. some weirdos sit for over an hour. moma posts the resultant portraits on its flickr page, and they provide for many minutes of weirdness and fascination!

Day 41, Marina Abramović by MoMA The Museum of Modern Art.

Day 40, Portrait 3 by MoMA The Museum of Modern Art.

Day 38, Portrait 10 by MoMA The Museum of Modern Art.

Day 38, Portrait 3 by MoMA The Museum of Modern Art.

Day 36, Portrait 9 by MoMA The Museum of Modern Art.

Day 30, Portrait 5 by MoMA The Museum of Modern Art.

Day 30, Portrait 2 by MoMA The Museum of Modern Art.

Day 10, Portrait 1 by MoMA The Museum of Modern Art.


everyone ends up crying, for some reason.


the portraits remind me of elf ludin’s photo project from darkness, and of andy warhol’s screen tests.


all of the images produce a false sense of intimacy bred from prolonged eye contact, and stuff. an act usually saved only for those with whom we feel an intense connection, rendered uncomfortable by proximity to a stranger and an awkward museum setting. also, some people are super weird looking, like human mr potato heads, and i wonder if marina abramovic notices.


[ stefanie ]

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marina abramovic has an exhibition at moma in which two naked people flank a doorway and museum goers have to squeeze past the naked in order to continue on their way.

marina abramovic, although prolific and strong and innovative, makes my stomach churn. a huge part of her oeuvre deals with self harm and mutilation and nudity, and reminds me of feminist art where artists like carolee schneemann and orlan and others whose names don’t come to mind as quickly treated their bodies like objects to make it known that, omg, women’s bodies tend to be treated like objects.

Carolee Schneemann, Interior scroll

(thank you, artnet)

so then marina abramovic not only wants us to know that women’s bodies have been objectified but also that they’ve been abused. she sets up a gallery piece where the only way for her to travel from one platform up to another is by way of a ladder, whose rungs are actually knives with their blades up. or she carves shapes into her belly or cuts the skin in between her fingers or sets up a table with knives and blades and thorny roses and a gun and allows the viewer to use these items on her, any way they’d like. so now her body is, completely, an object upon which others can place their own motivations and instincts.

i like the parts of her art that force the viewer to come to terms with their own issues–the fact that it feels weird to walk by a naked person in a museum, for example–but the violence and extreme objectification are so hard to stomach. which is a good thing, i guess, because if anything should be hard to stomach it should be exploitation and violence and misogyny. and if art is a reflection of the world that produced the artist, then art like this is important and appropriate.

but then again, why are female artists allowed to objectify and maim when male artists who do the same thing are vehemently criticized as exploitative males? alexander mcqueen’s collections come to mind, because he was always getting shit for being misogynistic and angry towards women. it’s a fuzzy line between self-expression and exploitation. and what if abramivic and schneemann and the rest are just keeping the cycle of subjugation going? in trying to rebel and break free, are we just entrenching ourselves further?

this is a post with no point, you see, but i’m an armchair feminist and i never know what to do with artists like abramovic. i wonder if we’re too inundated with porn and pretty ladies for anything naked to not register as erotic, no matter how avant-garde the imagery may be. and maybe they’re all just trying to own their sexuality and womanhood and use it for their own means rather than those of society and culture at large–but then there’s no difference between schneemann and bettie page and ladies who make porn that doesn’t exploit. which is fine, but isn’t there supposed to be a line between kitsch and the avant garde, that is to say, between porn and art?


(go get em, bets)

i would love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

[ stefanie ]

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