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Marina Abramović is a Serbian American performance artist well-known in the contemporary art world for staging a series of conceptual and often provocative performance pieces to explore the relationship between the artist and the audience. On the Internet, some of her more recent works have gone viral in the news and art blogosphere, including the 732-hour silent performance piece The Artist Is Present exhibited at the MoMA in 2010.
In 1976, she began working with West German performance artist Uwe “Ulay” Laysiepen (shown below) to produce a series of influential collaborative performances (shown below), which continued for over a decade until the two decided to end their relationship in 1988 by each walking from one end of the Great Wall of China and meeting in the center.
Starting in 2005, Abramović recreated the works of artists from the 1970s and 70s in a performance titled “Seven Easy Pieces” at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.
The Artist is Present
For two months starting in March 2010, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) held an retrospective exhibition dedicated to Abramović’s work. During the exhibit, she performed a 736-hour silent piece titled “The Artist is Present,” in which she sat in a chair while audience members took turns sitting across from her. At the opening night of the show, Laysiepen made a surprise visit bringing Abramović to tears (shown below).
“Picasso Baby” Music Video
On August 2nd, 2013, Jay-Z released a video titled “Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film,” which contained footage of the rapper performing the hip hop song “Picasso Baby” at the Pace Gallery in New York City where he is joined by Abramović and other audience members to dance in the center of a room (shown below).
Marina Abramović Institute
In July 2013, Abramović launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Marina Abramović Institute, a proposed museum space in Hudson .
On July 30th, Abramović participated in an “ask me anything” (AMA) post to promote the Kickstarter in the /r/IAmA subreddit, where it gathered upwards of 840 points and 700 comments prior to being archived. On August 7th, 2013, the Marina Abramović Institute Vimeo channel released a promotional video containing footage of pop star Lady Gaga performing a series of exercises at a retreat in upstate New York. Redditor grimsly subsequently posted the video on the /r/videos subreddit, where it gained over 1,500 points and 6,200 comments prior to being archived. By August 25th, the Kickstarter was funded with over $661,000 of its $600,000 goal.
On June 10th, 2014, Abramović released a trailer for her show “512 Hours,” in which she spends a total of 512 hours interacting with audience members in three empty rooms. During the show, electronic devices are banned from entry and participants are encouraged by Abramović to remain “present.”
Abramović was born on November 30th, 1946 in Belgrade, Serbia and describes her childhood upbringing by her single mother as “military-style,” which included having a curfew of 10:00 p.m. until she was 29-years-old. Abramović studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, Serbia and completed post-graduate studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, Croatia.
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