The mountain cries – Marina Abramovic at MoMA


There’s a great immersive piece at the Guardian by James Westcott on Marina Abramovic’s The Artist is Present, her new endurance performance in the atrium of MoMA.  Westcott, whose new biography of her was just published, formerly was Abramovic’s assistant, which gives the article (and presumably the biography) some crunch, since he knows her and her works well.  The best line in the piece is his summing up about the exhibitionist/mystic/masochistic artist: “It’s impossible to disentangle the narcissism from the public service in her work; the diva from the high priestess.”  Check the video on the jump page to get the sense of Abramovic as “the mountain in the maelstrom.”

Westcott’s commentary on MoMa’s re-staging of the previous works by new performers is trenchant — they are timid and lacking the charisma of the originals.   The author was there at the opening when performance artists Joan Jonas, VALIE EXPORT, and Ulay, Abramovic’s former partner in life and art, sat down to commune with her. The heretofore stoic artist broke down and cried when Ulay sat down.


james westcott, marina abramovic, moma new york, the artist is present



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