ART: Marina Abramovic’: The Artist Is Present

Yugoslavian born performance artists Marina Abramovic’s The Artist Is Present retrospective, currently at MOMA, takes the title to an absurd level. Marina herself is present in a large well-lit main space, sitting relatively immobile in a bright red gown staring at whomever wishes to sit at a table across from her. But that’s just the beginning salvo. On the 6th floor 40 years of her work unfolds with photographs, films, live interactive pieces and video. (Shhh, this is where the naked people are!)

That staring contest on the 2nd floor was serene as opposed to the much publicized live nudes one encounters in about four and a half rooms. Videos of Abramovic’s early career are here, stuff she did with collaborator Ulay Laysiepen, as well as more immovable live folks-MoMA is presenting the first live re-performances of the artist’s works by other people undertaken in a museum setting-the much heralded naked man and woman facing one another in a doorway (one needs to actually squeeze between) to get by, a naked lady up high on a wall nearly Chirst-like, two people tied at the hair (not naked, damn!), a guy lying with a skeleton over his naked body. For me it was less the nudes and more the video pieces and Abramovic’s odd expectant expression that interested me.

As always, MoMA is a delight to saunter through. They have floors of stuff beyond the Abramovic’ pieces…the photography exhibit was especially interesting.

The Artist Is Present lasts until May 31, 2010. For tickets got to www.moma.org

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