Posts Tagged ‘performance art’

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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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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i moved into a new apartment this past summer, and my roommate and i were determined to decorate it in a (thrifty) fashion that would not shout “COLLEGECOLLEGECOLLEGE” from the rooftops. ergo, no magazine cut-outs on the walls. ergo, i was fresh out of interior decorating experience. but THEN i discovered 20×200, a website whose mission is to sell very excellent art at a wide range of prices, starting off at $20 (for a smallish version of a photo or print or drawing, produced in an edition of 200) and topping off at $2000 (for a large version of said photo or print or drawing, with only 2 reproductions). we have a theory that, once you start your art collection, you have taken the first step on the path to genuine adulthood (whether you are 15 or 40, dear reader, we really don’t think you’re a real live adult if your walls are art-less; posters of van gogh paintings, no matter how mind bogglingly wonderful the originals may be, do not count) and this is a fantastic way to buy actual, original art at ridiculously reasonable prices. you will be cultured and sophisticated, and your friends will be jealous.

while trolling the site for nifty things to purchase, we came across jason polan, an artist living in new york. here are some things we like about mr. polan: his current project is an ongoing mission to draw every person in new york (see yoko ono, below); he is a member of the taco bell drawing club; we think he knows dave eggers; he made this bag, which i would totally ask for for hannuka if i didn’t feel too guilty to ask anyone for presents this year; he draws many giraffes; he is rather funny; there is no wikipedia article about him, lending him an exciting air of mystery.


one of the things he is selling on 20×200 is called “hand project”: for $20 he’ll send you one out of 200 photocopies of his hand, for $200 he’ll send you a drawing of his hand (“it is always available and i can mold it into different positions”), and for a mere $2000, he will come to your house and shake your hand. allan kaprow would be so proud.

[ stefanie ]

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as residents of virginia, philly, and virginia, we are always bitter when super things happen in new york and we can’t make it to the city in time to attend.

i.e. it really sucked when, after spending quality time with the original paris-based colette, we didn’t have a chance to see the gap + colette store when it sprung up in september and then quickly vanished. bum.

now, we are once again missing out on yet another enticing culture pod: karl lagerfeld’s ode to a purse, currently taking up residence in central park. the “chanel mobile art pavilion”, commissioned by largerfeld and designed by architect zaha hadid (she, is really really wonderful, and also one of three fantastic guest editors for the current issue of wallpaper), contains loads of art inspired by the Chanel 2.55 bag. the roving museum’s international tour also includes stops in hong kong, tokyo, london, moscow, and paris. new york magazine has very kindly posted a video tour for those of us who can’t make it to manhattan in time.

(for those of you who can, the exhibit is open until 9 november, and tickets are free)

we will admit, we were expecting 200+ artfully done yet eventually dull photos of purses, but to our gleeful surprise some of the pieces seem to be really well done, both in concept and execution. definitely, absolutely, worth your time.

[ stefanie ]

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