Thursday, March 25, 2010

Modern Art

I'd like to consider myself an artist. Unfortunately, when I look at the art I produce it becomes all the harder to consider myself an artist. I suppose I should stop relying so heavily on macaroni and magic markers, but what can I say, I consider myself an artist of the old school--aka the "pre"-school.

Anyways, I mention this because Paige and I recently went to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. We had a lot of fun checking out the Rothko blocks, the Kandinsky swirls and the Picasso cubes. But to be honest, the most interesting exhibit was the performance art by Marina Abramovic. For those of you that are unfamiliar with Marina Abramovic's art work (I'm going to assume that includes everyone), she is an avant garde performance artist who's work can generally be summed up by the following description: she does crazy shit and calls it art.

Her more famous works include screaming until she lost her voice (I have nieces and nephews who could be considered artists by this standard), dancing until she collapsed (who among us hasn't done this after a dozen beers), and saying random words nonstop until her mind goes completely blank (sounds like a bad first date-am I right guys?!?). But the cool thing about Marina Abramovic is that she does all this naked. Well, at least it was cool when she did it back in the 60s. Now that she's pushing 70 years old I find it less cool. Maybe it makes me a chauvinist pig. Maybe it makes me an art critic. You be the judge.

The NYC Museum of Modern Art is currently doing a retrospective of her work where they have "artists" perform her past work ( The museum has films of the aforementioned works, plus several live exhibits of people re-creating her past works. There were a naked man and woman standing close to one another in a doorway people had to walk through to make people think about which way they would turn to squeeze through. There were two people facing each other that were almost touching fingers in a symbolic gesture of the tension just before touching. There was a naked woman sitting on an elevated bicycle seat slowly spreading her arms and legs because...I don't know why...maybe it is because bicycles are fun--look ma, no hands!

Because I was a bit confused I meandered down from the "adults only" exhibits on the top floor down to the "Artist is Present" exhibit on the second floor where Marina herself was sitting (fully clothed thank goodness). She is currently spending three months at the Museum of Modern Art as her next performance piece ( In an effort to better understand her artwork I decided to sit down with the artist and ask her about her current work. She was suspiciously silent*. To be honest, she didn't say a single word--not to me or any of her other admirers! To quote another artist I admire: "How rude!**" I took her ominous lack of response to mean that I had out-arted her***.

Then I went and had a cupcake. It was delicious. More later.

*Her preparations for the project include a strictly regulated vegetarian diet, and although she is likely to be surrounded by milling crowds in the museum, Abramovic will not speak or respond to anyone during the entire run of the exhibition, an experience she likens to “going into seclusion in the middle of New York”. “It’s a huge experiment and I’m very nervous.

**Stephanie Tanner from TGIF's Full House circa 1993

***In all seriousness, while her art was not something I was used to, it was actually very interesting and thought provoking****

****But in all seriousness, I still think I out-arted her.


  1. Wow! Glad Mr. Mike wasn't with you. I can only imagine the comments he would have made. I do think that you could out-art her though. Artists like you describe aren't really artists to me....they are just plain old joe blows who want to make a buck off something weird and call it art.

  2. The camera had a bit of a shutter problem, so we had to send it back to Canon. They've mailed it to Houston and hopefully we can get Mrs. Kathy to send it to us. We should have some pictures by the end of next week perhaps.

  3. oh "shutter problem" short for "dropped it on a rock?"

  4. No rock droppage-- just spontaneous "error 39" and then bad exposures. consultation with pro photo supply guy confirmed the problem.

  5. I hate Error 39...and Error 5. I get those from time to time. Which lens do you have again?

  6. Dear Canon, How Rude!

    <3 Stephanie