Marina Abramovic: Here's looking at you kid
Junto Photo: Richard CarrenoAll Dressed Up at
MoMA's Naked Performance
By Richard Carreno
Junto Staff Writer Bio
You could have easily recognized me at the Museum of Modern Art in New York yesterday. I was the guy wearing the suit and tie, sandwiched in between two knock-dead gorgeous blondes who were fully nude. Naked, really. OK. The camera hanging from my neck was gauche. But it was all in the name of performance art. And quite by accident. Me being wedged between the women, that is.
A good friend, who's a MoMA volunteer, invited me to show up at the appointed hour. Deeda gets free museum tickets to this, that, and what-not, and she thought I'd enjoy one of few American showings of Frederick Wiseman's La Danse -- The Paris Opera Ballet.
We had some time to kill before the screening.
It was at this point that Deeda led me up to sixth floor for Marina Abramovic's performance art installation, 'The Artist is Present.' Members only. (The installation runs until 31 May).
Actually, Abramovic was present, but not on the sixth floor. She was doing her thing -- engaged in day-long staring sessions with other museum-goers -- in the second-floor Marron Atrium.
I knew something was up when, earlier, Deeda over lunch, showed me a Member Calendar. 'Please note: This exhibition includes live performers, some of whom are nude, and some works incorporate imagery of nude performers. Visitor discretion is advised.'
'No pictures, please,' a bemused guard, who was near the nudes, told me.
Abramovic, a 64-year-old who's identified as 'Yugoslav,' has a fixation with staring. The nudes were squared off to each other. For about a hour, for each pair, as they rotate through the day.
'They're not allowed to talk. They just look at each other,' Deeda explained.
And here was the art part.
'What you're supposed to do is walk between them,' Deeda went on. 'When the show opens to the public, walking between them won't be permitted. So to get the full effect, you'll need to do that now.'
You mean, like frottage? In public?
'Go for it! It's art,' Deeda said.
So, I'm figuring if there's enough room for me to fit between the models.
Between them, there's a space of about 18 inches. That is if you don't figure in the protrusion of their breasts, thus limiting the distance between them by about six inches.
I reckon a side-ways glide-path would be the best approach. If I suck in my gut, that is.
Now, it gets tricky. Especially, since it turns out, I'm the only one who at this particular moment who seems ready, willing, and able -- albeit a bit skittish -- who's ready to take Abramovic's bait.
Sidling between the two models only takes a few moments.
Oops! I face the taller model. Her erect nibbles -- it's damn cold in this gallery -- are rubbing under chin. I avert my eyes from her hers.
I emerge as a fully-blooded performance artist. Probably blushing, as well.
'Well, Deeda,' I tell my friend.'Your turn.'
'Are you kidding?' she said.'I'm waiting for the two hunks.'