05 July 2012

The Artist is Present

Marina Abramovic
HBO has a great thing going with their documentaries on Monday nights. Last week, they showed "Me at the Zoo". Named after the first video ever uploaded to YouTube, it was about the internet sensation Chris Crocker. The documentary was mostly about his life after a video he posted the video "Leave Britney Alone", and it went viral and made him into an internet celebrity. It was really interesting, but really emotionally raw, which made me wonder about people putting their inner most feelings on the internets. Like this blog?

This week's documentary was "Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present". It blew my pants right off. Such a great documentary. Abramovic is a performance artist that has been working/ showing work since the 70s. She's a legend, but I didn't get her work for a while. The documentary is centered around the retrospection of her work at the MoMA in New York City. Her new work presented at the show was "The Artist is Present". During this performance, she sat in a chair across a table from who ever wanted to sit across from her. A few months into it, she decided to remove the table. She sat in that chair for several hours for several months. It was intense. The viewer/experiencer would sit across from her and just stare at her. I didn't get it until I saw it, but that is one of the most beautiful works of art I've have seen.

There is something about the simplicity of it all. The work is simply Abramovic, chairs, and another person. I can't imagine what it would have been like to sit in front of her in complete silence. Just two people experiencing something out of the ordinary together. Several people started crying during their sitting sessions with her. Of course someone made a blog- Marina Abramovic Made Me Cry.

Her work also brought up a bunch of questions in my mind. Abramovic is part of that group of artists who have been working since the 70s in New York City. Is that group the last group of real artists? People who strictly work on their work and show their work? Can you do performance art anymore as a serious profession any more?

Our professors at school have told us about how rough the art world is, and have warned us that we will have to have real day jobs to afford to make art. Abramovic and crew were lucky to be in NYC went rent was cheap and any kind of art was awesome at most galleries. They were so lucky! They got to put so much more focus on their work than the kids I'm graduating with and myself. Of course it is worth making art on a personal level, but should one even attempt to show their work?

The only connections I have with the art world are my classmates and professors. We'll see how this goes...

PS: The documentary showed some of the people who sat with Abramovic, and I saw James Franco and Orlando Bloom amongst the faces. Way to keep it classy, boys!

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