The Artist Is Not Absent

Posted: February 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

It may be quite fair, by some standards (say, Rosenberg’s), to assert that Jackson Pollock was the beginning of performance art. However, the world’s foremost performance artist today is Marina Abramović. As this article suggests, her path to the topic was hardly an easy one. Indeed, her entire life and struggle to surive and prosper may be well be seen as one long performance. If this were so, it would put Abramović in league with modern choreographers such as Pina Bausch. I have the recent documentaries on both artists. I would highly encourage you to watch either.

  1. Kaden Plewe says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed watching The Artist is Present. The film did an amazing job portraying Abromovic as the artist and as the canvas, which it seems is one of the most intriguing/innovative parts of her work: the way that she totally bombards the typical dissociation between the artist and the public by putting her body in the center of it.

    Our discussions regarding Greenberg, Rosenberg and Steinberg allowed me to comprehend how big of a deal it is when an artist manages to step past everything that has come before them, introducing the public to something entirely new and special. Thanks for sharing.

    • I’m glad you took the time to watch this film. I can’t recall when I first discovered Abramovic, but I was definitely late to the scene. As you no doubt saw, her work his been controversial for most of her career. First she was notorious with the public for the extreme risk and startling ‘obscenity’ of her work. Slowly, she acquired a larger popular audience, whereupon artists and critics turned on her for becoming a one-woman ‘brand’. I find it hard to doubt her courage and sincerity, her total commitment to her work, which is clearly grueling. Indeed, more than one moment in the film struck me a powerfully moving, though perhaps in saying that I admit my sentimentality. In any case, Abromovic, while not the first performance artist, is certainly our most famous performance artist right now. She certainly provides and excellent example of the direction into which Pollock took modern art, deliberately or otherwise. We will have more occasion to discuss this sort of work when we get to the writings of Michael Fried.

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