The Artist Is Present

This blog is definitely becoming a review of MoMA’s latest show. Let me give you advice on Marina Abramovic’s performance art show.

Be present.

I think that has something to do with it. Don’t want to give the experience away.

Two real people in the nude stand facing each other in a narrow doorway. Knife ladders lead to three small rooms in another area.

Videos of the artist carving a star on her belly with a broken wine glass, bashing a skull against a bosom, walking the Great Wall. Video of nude men bouncing their hips into green, green grass.

There is one kind of performance art that you can actually see the Artist performing on the 2nd floor at the MoMA. (yes, the Artist is Present!) And I have tried it. We call it a Staring Contest. If you participate in a Staring Contest long enough apparently — like all day with quite a few people, then you, too may be a Performance Artist. Am I missing the point?

Oh, I see, I need to tie my hair in a knot with someone else’s hair and sit back to back for the entire day. I need to make myself pass out somehow.

I hope I don’t sound like crabby old person, like someone who goes, ”Meh! This is art! Give me Rembrandt! Now that’s art!”

Here’s my point – I don’t like to flinch when I look at art. But then, I suppose when you flinch, you are present.

The show’s oddly seductive (I went to see it because someone at the opening night of Chris’s play, “The Forest,” said she’d seen it six times). And yes, it’s very, very modern. I find it awesome that the MoMA features real live living artists and not just dead bones (of which there is a humongous pile in the center of The Artist is Present exhibit. And I think Abramovic carved the meat off of them herself and you can watch a video of her doing it.)

The show only goes for another couple of weeks. But until then, you, too, can be present. Otherwise take my word for it. It’s cool and weird.

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