See It Soon: The Artist is Present


| 9/6/2013 4:04:00 PM


Tags: Art, Documentaries, Recommendations, Christian Williams,

marina abramovic 

Challenge your opinion of performance art with The Artist is Present – a fascinating film that documents the 2010 Museum of Modern Art performance art piece of the same name by Marina Abramović.   

On the heels of last week’s recommendation, I thought I’d continue working down my list of favorite art documentaries for this week’s pick.

The Artist is Present is a behind-the-scenes look at the impressive performance art piece of the same name by Serbian artist Marina Abramović. I’m recommending it because it’s the film that helped me appreciate the beauty and validity of performance art, and if you have any reservations about that form of expression as I once did, it may improve your opinion of it, too.

In case you weren’t keeping up with the New York media buzz surrounding the exhibit, here’s the background: In the spring of 2010, the Museum of Modern Art opened a retrospective on Abramović’s provocative 40-year-career with five reenactments of her most noteworthy performance pieces. The centerpiece of the show was a very simple concept where Abramović sat in one of two chairs with a table in between. The public was then invited to sit across from the silent Abramović.

Sounds easy enough, but Abramović sat in that chair everyday and every hour the museum was open for three months. By the end of the exhibit, she had sat for 700 hours and gazed into the eyes of more than 750,000 visitors. Not only was it a remarkable physical feat of endurance and stamina, but the artistic message behind the piece was powerful and long lasting for those fortunate enough to experience it.