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Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present

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For the exhibition Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present at The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), Abramović performed in the atrium every day for 10 weeks in 2010. Visitors were encouraged to sit silently across from the artist for a duration of their choosing, becoming participants in the artwork.  This documentary records the performance, providing us with the cut aways about her life and past work that weren’t allowed to Abramovic during her marathon performance.  Fascinating stuff!

David Calhoun of Time Out finds this documentary about challenging and fearless artist Marina Abramovic “illuminating and inspiring.” He says:

“It’s a behind-the-scenes portrait punctuated with gripping archive footage of past performances: try not to wince as her ex-partner Ulay draws a bow, complete with arrow, inches from her chest. It tails off a little as we observe the show, but before then there’s a compelling section about her 12-year relationship with Ulay, who comes back into her life: scenes of them driving and bickering are tender and amusing, and it’s a powerful moment when Ulay joins her during the MoMA performance.

“Abramovic is raw and likeable, if mostly inscrutable. The film raises questions about how such a radical performer can maintain the purity and immediacy of her work alongside fame and within the context of a major retrospective… We’re party, too, to chats with her entourage about how she should manage perceptions: ‘I’m 63, I don’t want to be alternative again,’ she says, and later her gallerist persuades her it’s a bad idea to allow David Blaine (who we see eating a wine glass) to muscle in on her parade. This is illuminating and inspiring.”