63-year-old Marina Abramović is the first-ever performance artist to be offered a retrospective at MoMA. And for the 700 hour duration of the three-month exhibition she is occupying the gallery’s atrium conducting a new performance.
Day after day, Abramović sits motionless and silent while members of the public are invited to sit opposite her, meeting her gaze for as long as they want. For many participants, this experience is so deeply moving that they have been reduced to tears. You can view their weepy reactions on a blog called Marina Abramović made me cry.
Other responses to the exhibition have been more prurient. Some visitors have been forcibly removed for touching the naked performers employed to re-stage key works by the artist. While it’s questionable whether these ephemeral pieces can be successfully re-enacted, it’s exciting to see a major insitution make such a strong commitment to live performance.
Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present, Museum of Modern Art, 11 West Fifty-third Street, New York, until May 31 2010.