Marina Abramovic has certainly moved us when sitting in front of her ex boyfriend, Ulay, during her central performance at the MoMA that a few years ago that institution dedicated to her career, curated by, no other than, Klaus Biesenbach. At that time, we happened to work together in a couple of project. I purchased from Lisson Gallery two of her historical pieces both for a client of me and for myself. As a result of those ‘collaborations’ she made a couple of friendly approaches to me. Firstly, she invited me to her Manhattan loft and, secondly, I stood her up in a Met red carpet after passing out after days awake having drugs and could only manage to catch a later plane who landed in Newark, New Jersey from London when she might have been eating her dessert.
After seeing her ‘Life and Death of Marina Abramovic’ which is based on her own life story, it was obvious that Marina needs superstardom as a substitute for love. Abramovic does not trust people and asks a type of devotion that is never reciprocated because she is just scared to open up to another human being. That is why, her performances are not cathartic expressions of her own ‘authenticity’ but enactments of an ideal that never matches her reality. That is why she feels so at ease in the world of the Gaga’s and the Biesenbach’s. Marina made a career out of connecting with other human beings but the truth is that she cannot connect.
That is why I was not surprised when I received a letter from performance artist Sarah Wokey which after turned into a blogpost in this same blog went viral with more than 50,000 clicks. To read it click here. In that letter, Wokey tells how she was taken advantage by Abramovic and her team when auditioning for her November 7th performance at the annual gala of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. In her open letter she says: ‘I auditioned because I wanted to participate in the project of an artist whose work I have followed with interest for many years and because it was affiliated with MOCA, an institution that I have a connection with as a Los Angeles-based artist. Out of approximately 800 applicants, I was one of two hundred selected to audition. Ultimately, I was offered the role of one of six nude females to re-enact Abramovic’s signature work, “Nude with Skeleton” (2002), at the center of tables with seats priced at up to $100,000 each. For reasons I detail here — reasons that I strongly believe need to be made public — I turned it down. To tell a long story short, she was offered a less than minimum wage and was asked to sign an agreement according to which in case of suffering any harm or injury, neither Abramovic or the museum would be liable for it.
Because the aforementioned, it is rather ironic that now Abramovic has complained about having been used by Jay Z when the rapper shot a music video for his song Picasso Baby in 2013 while the artist performed her work The Artist Is Present. Speaking to Spike magazine, Abramović said that she wasn’t surprised when Jay Z said he wanted to adapt her work, but after the rapper came in to shoot the video at Pace gallery in New York, three years after The Artist is Present had been staged at MoMA, she felt the experience only benefited him. The world is a little bit more balanced today, then. J A T
THIS IS MY REVIEW OF MARINA ABRAMOVIC’S LATEST LONDON SHOW AT THE SERPENTINE GALLERY