Marina Abramovic, the self-proclaimed Grandmother of Performance Art, has published a memoir and is doing a lot of press to promote it.
In a recent interview, she described an average day. At 7:30, after breakfast, she calls her “lover,” an unnamed artist who lives in another country. She described her daily bath, using a pound of baking soda and a pound of something I forgot (sea salt? Almond oil?) she makes some calls, cares for her cherished long hair, wraps herself in a big cashmere blanket, and prepares for another day of pampering herself and being famous.
At 69, she deserves a break.
All those years of brutalizing her body in the name of art, and torturing her patrons with silence, nudity, dramatic displays of fortitude and almost ecstatic humiliation, she has made her point about being an artist. Your art must be all-consuming, inseparable from your actual life.
At 69, it’s time to reflect, but not to put her clothes on. She will confront you with her mature, voluptuous body, the elderly Eve, Venus, and Mother Earth.
I can’t read her autobiography, unless it’s free and it comes with a mood altering leafy substance. But here’s some excerpts from a review in the New York Times:
A tolerance for a certain amount of pomposity is a prerequisite for keeping up with serious art. In “Walk Through Walls,” Ms. Abramovic pushes this tolerance to its limits.
And well beyond, it sounds like.
In one of her better-known video pieces, “The Onion” (1996), Ms. Abramovic ate a raw onion while complaining about her life in a voice-over. (“I’m tired of changing planes so often … museum and gallery openings, endless receptions.”) In this shallow and misconceived memoir, she takes that onion from her mouth and places it in ours.
Oh snap! Personally, I’ll be damned if I take her onion. I have my own onion.
It’s not hard to admire such a confident and tenacious figure, laboring away within the patriarchal confines of the international art scene. Her supreme faith in her own greatness, like Madonna’s, is surprisingly persuasive.
Even as she smugly reveals that she’s stopped buying clothes “because Ricardo [Tisci, creative designer of Givenchy] will bring me things to wear,” you have to admire her gigantic ego, and her childlike obliviousness.
You go girl, but cover up, okay?
photo: (c) Annie Liebovitz