No, the artist was not present at Film Forum for a screening of her documentary, The Artist Is Present, a couple of weeks ago. The artist is Marina Abramović, and though she wasn’t there — neither was the director of the film, Matthew Akers — I kept expecting her glamorous self to storm in as a last-minute surprise. But who was there was the reason I showed up for the screening: Mr. Klaus Biesenbach, chief curator at large of the Museum of Modern Art and director of MoMA PS1.
Hyperallergic writers and siblings Brendan and Marisa Carroll recently went to see Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present, a documentary about the performance artist’s Museum of Modern Art retrospective. The museum retrospective included photos, videos and re-creations of Abramović’s performances from her 40-year career, but the documentary, directed by Matthew Akers, focuses almost solely on Abramović’s new piece for the exhibition, “Sitting With Marina.” In that work, the artist sat motionless in the same chair for seven hours a day, every day that the show was on, and museumgoers were invited to sit across from her, silently, one at a time. Brendan visited the exhibition back in 2010; Marisa did not. Below are their impressions of the film.
Pippin Barr works and teaches at the Center for Computer Game Research at IT University in Copenhagen, and readers of Hyperallergic will know him as the guy who created “The Artist Is Present” video game, which has already become an online sensation. I caught up with Barr online to ask him about “The Artist Is Present,” the popular fascination with Abramović and how the experience mimics some aspects of the real thing.
Didn’t get your chance to sit with Marina Abramović during her The Artist Is Present performance at MoMA? Don’t worry, Copenhagen-based Pippin Barr has given you a second chance in the form of The Artist Is Present: The Video Game. He’s also updated the whole thing so you have to pay $25 to get into MoMA, take about a hard dose of reality. Ouch!
You may have heard that James Franco and Lady Gaga are performance artists, that their careers themselves are art objects built up over a lifetime. You may also believe that your Uncle Bob farting the alphabet is performance art. And maybe it is! Really, it’s up to you, there’s no quick and easy chart to tell what is performance art and what isn’t. Nevertheless, there are a few guidelines to follow when defining performance, in the context of the medium’s history as well as its current practice. Despite what you’ve heard, there are good reasons that getting carried into the Grammys in an egg isn’t really an act of performance art.