Marina Abramović: It's Over and Done, Thank Goodness

5 June 2010

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This week saw the end of the epic three month performance by Marina Abramović, The Artist is Present, come to an end and, at last, the artist was absent.  She had spent an enormous seven hundred hours simply sitting in a wooden chair in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, face to face with anyone who wanted to sit opposite her and simply stare.

This whole piece has taken on a life of its own with the Internet all a buzz with the hordes of celebrities who queued up to have the opportunity to gaze at the Serbian artist.  On the final day people waited outsite the museum all night just for a chance to stare.  That is more than a little bewildering, but as you can see from the pictures here it was quite the event.

Abramović’s goal is not, however, crass sensationalism (even though one might be forgiven for thinking that but one must blame the media rather than the artist for that one).  Her performances, such as this one set out to identify and define the limits of her control over her body and that of the relationship between the audience and the performer.  True, true – and great art has a liberating effect.  But all we can say is thank goodness it’s over!

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