Marina Abramovic's weeks-long performance art piece ends today. It raised important questions about the nature of art. They will probably never be answered. What's certain, though, is that an audience member made themselves vomit, and another stripped nude today.
It's been easily the most buzzed-about performance art piece since James Franco went on General Hospital. The centerpiece of The Artist Is Present, Abramovic's retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, was a performance where Abramovic sat wordlessly in a chair all day and people lined up to sit across from her. Celebrities like Bjork, Marisa Tomei and James Franco himself lined up and sat down during the piece's 11-week run. Some regular people did too. Some people cried.
Above all, the piece asked, Where does one draw the line between audience and performer? Today, it provided an answer: In such a way that puts the performer out of reach of the audience's projectile vomit. A few hours ago, a man vomited on the floor of the room where Abramovic sat. Here is the vomit:
A spy writes:
He just ran up to the outer ropes stuck his fingers down his throat and threw up. He then stumbled back and tried to throw up again, but not much came out. The guards grabbed him and kicked him out. Marina didn't move the whole time
Now this is criticism! Imagine if instead of writing a scathing takedown of Sex and the City 2, A.O. Scott posted a video to the New York Times' website of him vomiting grape-flavored Kool-Aid on a poster of Sarah Jessica Parker's grotesquely photo-shopped head. Point taken, vomit guy. You did not enjoy this piece!
Another woman today expressed what seems to be the opposite opinion, but in a similarly primal manner. She stripped down in front of hundreds of people. Twitter user Parllelarts documented the incident:
Body as offering. Big deal, this is exactly what happens whenever Robert Pattinson sits down in public.
Finally, another guy also had an opinion. But instead of creatively vomiting or stripping, he boringly wrote down the opinion on pieces of paper. Then he threw them from a balcony into the room. The document was what our spy calls "sort of a bad art school criticism against the exhibit":
C+. (Sentence fragments.)
Consider today's incidents with the fact that many of the nude models in other parts of The Artist is Present complained of visitors groping them. And, yeah, The Artist is Present told us something important about the nature of the audience. We learned that, when given the chance, they'll act like petulant two year-olds fed up with waiting for their chicken fingers at TGI Friday's. Grow up, audiences!
(Pic via C-Monster's Flickr)