Some notable recaps
The first one is a few months old, but it bears reposting because it’s so good. Anna Mayer ruminates on life in Los Angeles and discusses several interesting performance-related projects for Proximity Magazine. Her consideration of Liz Glynn’s 65 | 77 | 03 | could serve as an interesting argument in favor of Marina Abramović’s re-performance projects, which have been roundly criticized by many. Since the publishing of this piece, Elana Mann’s Retirement Bash project has been successfully pulled off and documented in a catalogue, while the wonderful Sea and Space Explorations has sadly decided to close its physical space in September.
Julian Hoeber wrote this terrific account of Charles Irwin’s breakdancing performance at the opening of Kathryn Brennan’s final show in LA. I had to miss this “historic” event, but the write-up made me feel like I was there.
Marina Abramović’s epic The Artist Is Present performance ended at 5pm EST this past Memorial Day. I was glued to the MOMA webcam for the last hour and watched them cycle really quickly through the last day of sitters (apparently there was a 10-minute limit enforced) as an insanely packed crowd sat on the sidelines. Marina seemed unusually animated, as she leaned forward and even seemed to smile and make other facial expressions at the sitters. At about 4:50pm, curator Klaus Biesenbach took the chair, and sat with her for only a few minutes before getting up to give her a congratulatory kiss and hug. Like a slow-motion Wimbledon champion, Marina then fell to her knees on the floor and crouched there for a few seconds before getting up to face her audience and take several bows. According to written accounts, the applause was thunderous.
What came next was pretty surreal. All of the re-performers came down from the galleries (apparently almost every one cried when finishing their last performances) to join Marina in the atrium. They wore white lab coats and surrounded her in a circle while she, also dressed in a sweeping white dress, walked around the atrium hugging them as well as audience members. The fourth wall was pretty much smashed to bits by this celebratory display, which felt and looked like the closing night of a successful Broadway play, or the victory march following a football game.
Hyperallergic has a great summation of the end of the performance, while blogger Marina Galperina offers her own eyewitness account. ArtInfo has a pretty good collection of links related to the performance overall. The latest write-up is this totally over-the-top account of a celebrity-festooned A-List closing party, with Marina looking miraculously radiant and already totally recovered from her 2.5-month ordeal (how does she do it??). More than any other article, this one captures the strange and problematic dynamic of a truly daring performance artist enshrined, anointed, and embalmed by a predictable art world elite.
Speaking of problematic über-celebrities, not to mention the utter randomness of pop culture, I can’t resist linking to Lady Gaga’s recent interview with Larry King. When King asked Gaga why she dressed so outrageously, she referenced Abramović’s show, which she recently saw in the company of Biesenbach and Terence Koh: “She is fearless… I think what she’s saying is that our limits are imposed by ourselves, not others….” Wow—thinking of Abramović’s groundbreaking performances in the same breath as Lady Gaga’s crystal-encrusted hoop dress kind of blows my mind.
Finally, for more shits and giggles, check out this hilarious missed connections post on Craigslist.
(I was in New York in April and sat with Marina just before closing time on the 14th. I’m working on a post about this event, which will hopefully go live early next week.)