As is the case with most Web designers, producers, and graphic designers, I have an unhealthy attraction to infographics, whether it be the work of the Almighty Edward Tufte, the non-stop hit factory of The New York Times (here’s my all-time favorite), or the rich annual reports of Nicholas Feltron. Read more
Last week, we asked our Facebook and Twitter fans to submit questions to ask Marina Abramović on the occasion of the end of her epic performance piece, The Artist Is Present, on Monday, May 31. We got an amazing response! Special thanks to our Facebook fans Tal Brog, Sean Capone, Nicolette Brink, and Linda Wachtel, and our Twitter followers samtlam, ArtInitiative, and scriptophobe, for the questions they submitted. On Tuesday morning, we were the first to interview the artist. Here are her answers: Read more
Those of you who have clicked through the visitor portraits in our Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present Flickr gallery, taken by Marco Anelli, probably noticed some familiar faces. Apart from a few celebrities in the mix (Sharon Stone, Rufus Wainwright, Isabella Rossellini, to name a few), there are a number of less famous faces that repeat day in and day out, almost as often as Marina herself. These Marina devotees have become micro-celebrities in their own right, at least around the Museum; the guards know them by name, and fellow visitors waiting their turn to sit with Marina regard them with an air of what may best be described as reverence.
Paco Blancas, a NYC-based make-up artist, is one such visitor. After seeing his portrait a number of times on Flickr, I found myself wondering, “Who is this mystery man? Why does he keep coming back? Why is he crying in so many of these photos?” I wanted to know his story. As luck would have it, last week I spotted him seated in the Marron Atrium, back for his fourteenth sitting with Marina. He shared a few words about his experiences with the piece and what compels him to keep coming back. Read more
Friends and family keep asking me recently, “What do you think of the Marina Abramović show?” The exhibition has sparked a lot of conversation, especially one aspect of it—yes, the “naked people.”
Some viewers have been shocked by the bodies in our galleries, but I didn’t expect to be one of them. Beyond the occasional cartwheel, there hasn’t been much call at MoMA for my performing skills… but before I was a MoMA wordsmith, I was a modern dancer, performing for several years mostly with the Regina Nejman Dance Company.
Dancers become comfortable with the body to an unusual degree. There’s the co-ed quick costume-changing backstage, the impolite contact of dance partnering, not to mention you spend a lot of your life wearing spandex. And yet I discovered that Abramović’s reperformers—clothed and unclothed—ruffled my composure, too.
Imponderabilia (1977), the Abramović piece in which two nude performers flank a doorway, has gotten a lot of press. Brushing past the genitalia of strangers in a crowded, public place—could anything be more nightmarish for a New Yorker? Recently, playing hooky from my desk, I breathed in, to be thinner, and slipped between the man and woman performing that afternoon. Safely through, I realized my heart was pounding. Other visitors hurried through nonchalantly, pretending they were going that way anyway; the performers, standing with knees slightly bent, never broke their bubble of concentration. (A good trick for the endurance stander, to avoid wobbling or fainting: don’t lock your knees.) Read more
If you happen to witness—or, for the intrepid, participate in—Marina Abramović‘s new work The Artist Is Present, you may notice a well-equipped photographer quietly documenting each daily performance. The artist has asked photographer Marco Anelli to take portraits of every visitor who participates in the piece. The results, as you can see below and on the exhibition website, are captivating.
Check back frequently, as the images are updated regularly. At this point there are over eight hundred portraits!
This past August, I visited Marina Abramović at her home in upstate New York, where she was running a workshop with the re-performers of the exhibition Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present. In a series of five videos that show excerpts of my conversation with the artist, she talks about her work, her exhibition at MoMA, and performance art. As an artist who uses her body as a medium, it is fascinating to hear Abramović’s feelings on fear and limitations. In this video, the artist offers her thoughts on the meaning and definition of performance art.
In this clip from the CD (as discussed in a previous post) that accompanies the catalogue of Marina Abramović’s current retrospective, The Artist Is Present, Marina discusses her performance Art Must Be Beautiful, Artist Must Be Beautiful (1975) and shares with the reader her thoughts about the work and its creation. This is complemented by a discussion of the performance in one of the essays featured in the catalogue, “The Art of Marina Abramović: Leaving the Balkans, Entering the Other Side,” by art historian and critic Jovana Stokić. Read more
We asked a number of visitors to Marina Abramović’s performance retrospective, The Artist Is Present, to share their impressions with us. Visitor participation is central to this exhibition—Abramović’s own performance for the show asks visitors to come sit with her and essentially become a part of the performance piece, while the “reperformances” in the sixth-floor galleries turn viewers into spectators and confront them in a way art objects never could. We wanted to hear from visitors about their experiences with these works. Read more
What’s so special about a “special” exhibition? For us, MoMA’s graphic designers, they’re special enough to require their own unique graphic identity, and oftentimes a unique identity is all in the letters. For two very different shows now on view at MoMA, Tim Burton and Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present, we created two very different title typefaces. Read more
When artist Marina Abramović and curator Klaus Biesenbach first met with the Publications team to discuss the catalogue that would accompany her exhibition at MoMA, Marina knew she wanted to create a book that offered a different kind of reading experience. Hoping to address the eternal challenge of capturing the complexity of live performance on the printed page, she proposed the addition of an audio component, which she felt would allow for a more personal, intimate, and experiential understanding of the work. What you hear in this video is a track from the resulting CD, which comes with the book. Read more