Does the Museum of Modern Art’s live feed of Marina AbramoviÄ‡’s performance “The Artist is Present” defeat the purpose of the piece, or enhance it? “The Artist is Present” is the title of both AbramoviÄ‡’s retrospective, which opened at MoMA on March 14th, as well as her new live performance, which takes place in MoMA’s Marron Atrium throughout the run of the exhibition.Â In her performance, AbramoviÄ‡ sits on a wooden chair in front of a wooden table. The chair across from her is occupied by different museum visitors, who are invited to take a seat across from the artist and gaze at her while she gazes at them. Visitors are allowed to sit in the chair for as long as they want. (One man stayed for seven hours).Â MoMA’s exhibition website notes that the retrospective as a whole endeavors to “transmit the presence of the artist” by including “live re-performances” of AbramoviÄ‡â€™s works by other people, along with this new durational performance by the artist herself.
I couldn’t find any mention of how live streaming the performance fits into the exhibition’s overall attempts to “transmit the artist’s presence,” however. Ideally, of course, viewers will experience AbramoviÄ‡’s performance in a more direct fashion, either by sitting across from her or watching from the audience as other people share her gaze.Â But the existence of MoMA’s live streaming “marina-cam” (my nickname, not theirs) is downright puzzling. What’s the purpose of streaming a performance–one which purportedly explores what it means to “be present” in this particular historical moment — for the benefit of anonymous internet users who can engage with it only by staring at their computer screens for a few seconds at a time?
For a work of art that necessitates ‘presence’ in all the multivalent meanings of the term, I find it curious that AbramoviÄ‡ agreed to the livecam broadcast in the first place. Read more
Last Monday, a woman Tweeted that her water broke moments after the event occurred. And it was a long Tweet too – close to the 140 character limit. I guess it was bound to happen. Now, to be fair, she’s not just any woman, she’s Sara Morishige Williams, the spouse of Twitter founder Ev Williams–probably the only person one would expect to Tweet at such a moment–and it was very early on in her labor. But still. I’m not one of Williams’ Twitter followers, but upon learning of this news of course I had to know how far into the labor she got whilst hanging on to her iPhone (wow–you’ve gotta be pretty good with that thing if you’re able to type on it with clenched fists).
Turns out, not too far. Her last Tweet before officially becoming a mother read: “Epidural, yes please.” I can’t help but think she kinda punked out by not Tweeting throughout the delivery. I mean, she’s the wife of Twitter’s CEO, for God’s sake, shouldn’t she feel some sort of cultural responsibility when it comes to this sort of thing?
Just kidding. Mostly.
Twitter’s getting all the type re: the Iranian election and its aftermath, but this nicely done (if substantively slight) little video (via Beautiful/Decay) produced by the Vancouver Film School makes a case for the role that blogs and bloggers have played in Iranian political dissent. Did you know that Iran is the third largest country of bloggers?
UPDATE: Just saw this via Hrag Vartanian: Interactive Persian Blogosphere Map. It that shows the different types of bloggers active in Iran and the relationships bewteen them. You can zoom in and click on different sections (poetry, reformer, secular, or cyber-shia, among others) and it will take you directly to an example of that type of blog.
Here’s what’s got my attention, web-wise, so far this week:
*San Diego Museum of Art director Derrick R. Cartwright appointed director of the Seattle Art Museum.
*Art Institute of Chicago director James Cuno hopes to initiate massive fundraising drive for free Museum admission.
*No Boys Allowed: yearlong exhibition at the Pompidou Center is for women-only.
*Scope Basil is only three weeks ago away, and still ‘aint got no permit.
*”I spent a year asking why the contemporary art bubble was the biggest, bubbliest bubble of them all”: Ben Lewis’ The Great Contemporary Art Bubble preview clip on YouTube ( ART21’s Ben Street has a funny post on the film too).
*Speaking of Twitter, it could be coming to a t.v. near you.
*Beautiful/Decay needs YOU to help pick the theme for its next limited-edition publication. Winner gets a copy of the book. For free!
Are re-blogged links the blogger’s version of the sitcom flashback episode? Uh, maybe, but in any case, here’s a partial and purely subjective roundup of the past week in art, culture, etc. in Chicago and beyond, via a whole mess o’ handy links, of course….
*New City art editor Jason Foumberg has a nice recap along with some thoughtful analysis of last week’s “The Invisible Artist: Creators from Chicago’s Southside” panel discussion at the School of the Art Institute. UPDATE 4/4: There is some very interesting, enlightening, and pretty damn sharp back-and-forth going on in the comments section of this article by panel participants and others who strongly disagree with (or have misunderstood) Foumberg’s assessment of the panel and the issues it addressed.
*The mass firings of adjunct fine art faculty at Parsons The New School for Design: blogger Hrag Vartanian’s coverage has been some of the most thorough thus far. Check out his posts here, here and here as a start.
*Time Out Chicago writer Lauren Weinberg has a piece this week on the ways in which Musuems in Chicago and elsewhere are using social media.
*Big yawn: on the Twitter front, an update on @platea’s Twitter happening I blogged about a few weeks ago. UPDATE 4/4: NewCity reported on what happened during the Twitter Island project discussed in that same blog post, here.
*Via C-Monster: The Architecture of the Drug Trade. A fascinating look at the landscape of weed and the architecture of the grow house. Especially loved the comparison of the latter to Max’s bedroom in Where the Wild Things Are.
*Paddy Johnson of Art Fag City writes for The L Magazine on why Jenny Holzer is not the patron saint of Twitter in her review of Holzer’s Protect Protect Project, which originated at the MCA and is now at The Whitney.
*And finally, the hermeneutics of “pin diplomacy”: via Artnet Magazine, Madeleine Albright’s pin collection to be shown at the Museum of Arts & Design in New York. Pins weren’t mere jewelry for Albright, they added a subtle layer to her diplomatic efforts. She wore a bee pin when talks were getting pointed, a balloon pin when she felt hopeful, and a snake pin after Sadaam Hussein’s people called her a serpent. I’m so there!