Thursday, December 09, 2010

The worst Exhibition of 2010

Yesterday I posted my 11 best art shows of the year, today here is what I consider the worst exhibition of the year. I've included my original remarks with some additions.

Marina Abramovic The Artist Is Present. The Museum Of Modern Art

I swear it felt like there were a trillion people today at The Museum Of Modern Art ...and it is truly becoming a test for me to go to this place to look at art. Of course the throngs were still falling into the Tim Burton that is still there. Is this side show going to be a permanent exhibit? Then there were the hoards going to see the nude people at the Marina Abramovic fun house. See the live nudes, see the recreations of her hair raising performance pieces. See the nude lady hanging from the ceiling. I did not care for this show, I think it was dead and boring, big and empty and surprisingly not all that confrontational. Why do some artists think that by covering walls with 100’s of nicely framed bits and pieces of biographical images and documentation that they’ve saved forever that anyone would find this engrossing or even give a shit. Then there is the artist herself sitting there in person wearing flowing bright red robes (at least it was red the day I was there, maybe she has 6 different color robes for each day of the week the museum is open, “let me see today its Wednesday so I think I’ll wear the blue robe)” like some empress at a tea party waiting to be served as fools sit opposite her and stare at each other for minutes, hours days? Some art critic actually called this work a masterpiece. Set up in the large Atrium space with very big lights surrounding her, it reminded me of the miracle sequence in La Dolce Vita., just as fake and phony. Ave Marina gee it’s good to see ya. Well I guess the tourists will have something to tell the folks back home. The reenacting of performance art and the installation pieces usually rings hollow for me. Abramovic and several other In situ artists shun galleries and museums until of course the big guns come calling. the Gabriel Orozco show at the Moma also irked me for the same reason, here is an artist who made work outside of the gallery art system making a point that his work was made in the moment but then had no trouble putting his objects nice and tidy in the museum. The piece of Abramovic's that I really detested (there were so many to pick from) was Balkan Baroque. In the original piece she sat for days in a basement on a pile of bloody cow bones, which she cleaned sang childhood folksongs and cried. This was at the time a legitimate political piece her response to the war going on in her homeland. However for the Moma its all cleaned up, no smell no blood just a big pile of white bones in front of a large photo of her during the original performance, for me it was like a process shot in an old Hollywood movie where the actors are projected against a moving scene, there but not really there. Also one of the male nude pieces just filled me with sadness and made me feel morose. The handsome young man stared at me and I felt so sorry for him being exploited by this woman. I hope they got well paid for this torture. How more interesting and indeed more daring it would have been if she had stocked her side show with middle age or even older people posing in the nude instead of all those pretty young things. I find the idea that she explores vulnerability a little hard to take considering that she set herself up in one of the most elite spaces in the country if not the world. I would have had a lot more respect for her if she had taken her show on the road, like riding the new york city subway system for a couple of months and staring at the ordinary people who ride the subways and lets see what happens when they stare back. She could have had her photographer snap their portraits as she had done at the Moma (no doubt a book will be coming shortly of these portraits) I think the results would have been a lot more interesting than what resulted from her 3 month long stay at Moma.


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