By Lisa DiCarlucci, Entertainment Editor
There have certainly been a few oddities at the Museum of Modern Art in the past, but perhaps none as unique as Marina Abromowic’s latest exhibition, The Artist is Present. The exhibition is two-fold; on the sixth floor is a series of Abromowic’s pieces spanning her career, in all different mediums. The exhibition is overtly sexual and takes on architectural, video and live forms. On the second floor is Abromowic herself, and lucky visitors to the museum can take turns sitting across from her at a small table and simply staring for as long as they want from open to close.
The obvious question is, how is this art? Well, it’s not entirely clear, but that’s the beauty of art after all: it doesn’t always fit into a frame. This exhibit isn’t just about the art, but the artist. It let’s the audience look into her eyes and get a feel for how she ticks. Her silent presence gives the art context without enforcing interpretation. It rests on the values of sitting and being in the moment and exploring others from an artistic perspective which is most certainly a worthy cause. Should it take up the entire second floor of the MOMA? Well, that is up for debate, but there have been things far less engaging and intriguing housed within its stylish architecture.
The sixth floor exhibit is shocking and sexual, nudity included. The walls are covered with video screens of people, Abromowic included, performing odd and sexual acts while naked. Some are masturbation while others are closer to doing acrobatics; one particular video seems to show Abromowic moaning and yelling while pulling at her hair. The display serves as a timeline of Abromowic’s works spanning over decades.
The most notable aspects of the exhibit are the live people, some of which hold poses while completely nude. In one corner of the room, there is a small passageway with two naked women on either side. It’s impossible to pass through them without touching them, a piece which challenge’s our society’s discomfort with the naked body. The strange looks and childish giggles only confirm this hypothesis. The exhibit speaks largely to our connections with our own selves as sexual beings and our connections to other humans.
Marina Abromowic’s work is without a doubt unconventional, but then again, so is the spirit of the MOMA. It’s not art on a canvas or even with typical tools- it’s art made from people and ideas. As a body of work it is not particularly inspiring and for many it borders on offensive, however the exhibition is still successful. It draws curiosity, explores alternative methods of expression and begins a dialogue about what art really is and can be. It forces observers to think, and isn’t that what good art does anyway?