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Performance into Art

For these artists, the body is the medium, and live actions their art.

The Artist is Present

Marina Abramović
(Yugoslav, b. 1946)

2010. Performance.

The Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present website documents a piece by Marina Abramović commissioned by MoMA in 2010. For almost eight hours each day over two and a half months, Abramović sat in a gallery where visitors were invited to sit silently across from her for as long as they wished, while other visitors looked on.

In describing the work, called The Artist Is Present, Abramović explained, “Here, everything was about stillness and about literally doing nothing and being in the present.” One visitor who returned to sit with Abramović a number of times described his experience: “Sitting with her is a transforming experience—it’s luminous, it’s uplifting, it has many layers, but it always comes back to being present, breathing, maintaining eye contact. It’s an amazing journey to be able to experience and participate in the piece.”

To request, or the request for, the production of a work of art.


SLIDESHOW: See portraits of visitors participating in The Artist is Present (2010). Photographs by Marco Anelli.