Saturday, March 20, 2010

Exhibitions NYC | MOMA, Marina Abramovic | Performance Art or Performance?

Art exhibitions in New York City museum often present the spectacularity of Broadway theaters. There is no clear boundary between the artwork presented in the installation and exhibition design, as mainly verified in installation and video art. This is particularly evident in the exhibition currently on view at the MOMA, "The Artist is Present" a survey of the work of the performance artist Marina Abramovic
The exhibition combines a remake of "historical" installations by Abramovic and her former partner Ulay, with documentation of the "real performances" including several memorabilia.
The main piece is the museum second floor perfomance, where Abramovic sits still at a table for the all duration of the exhibit; visitors are invited to sit across the table from her.
Definitely a very spectacular exhibition, including the over 10-foot multi-channel projection screens or hundreds pound of recreated plastic bones. The performers recreating the performance have a perfect theathrical make-up and sets. Spectacularity which was missing from the original performances.
But....what is the meaning/sence of re-making performance art? It sounds like an oxymoron: the ephemerality and time-based which characterizes this type of art expression are lost, so is the impact with audience and the intent itself.
Performance art is not theater.