In Brief

The Puppy Is Present

by Claire Voon on August 19, 2014

(all photos courtesy Hannah Ballou)

(all images courtesy Hannah Ballou)

The canine is present for this summer’s most radical piece of performance art, an homage to one pup-ular retrospective held at the the Museum of Modern Art in 2010.

A few days ago, while people stood in line for hours waiting to experience Marina Abramović’s current work, 512 Hours, at London’s Serpentine Gallery, another performance was taking place outside the gallery’s walls. In Marina Abramopug: The Artist is Present, Marina, a nine-and-a-half-year-old pug sporting a scarlet dress and a black braided wig perched on a stool in Hyde Park, invites the public to sit opposite her, gazing fixedly at them for undefined periods of time. This recent appearance marks the second time the canine — who cites the Montenegrin artist as “a strong influence” — held her performance during these dog days, the first having occurred on July 16.

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The bone-weary artist, Marina Abramopug

“I think Marina was at a point in her career where she really needed to be present with her public,” Hannah Ballou, Marina’s owner and self-described senior personal assistant told Hyperallergic. “And she’s so in tune with nature, so being in the park outside the Serpentine Gallery was perfect. (Plus we were not invited inside.)”

According to Ballou, a number of viewers were moved to tears as they stared into the pug’s wrinkled face and large, rounded eyes. It is still uncertain whether any portraits of the audience will be archived on an online platform, such as Tumblr.

While the vast majority of visitors found the experience rewarding, some of the more pugnacious members of the audience found it repugnant, focusing more on questions of animal abuse, to which Ballou responded: “Marina Abramopug knows that there is risk involved with performance art. In theatre, blood is ketchup; in performance, everything’s real. Her tail turned white after the performance.”

If you missed the performance of the year, Marina Abramopug: The Artist is Present will occur once more, but only if “invited by a suitably prestigious institution,” Ballou said.

The only question that remains now is whether or not the pooch pays its interns.

MarinaAbramopug9

UPDATE: One of our commenters pointed out another Marina-inspired project, featuring another unexpected, silent artist taking the seat:

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