The Way We Linger Now
"Marina Abramovic has often been linked to Chris Burden, and with reason. She has staged extreme masochistic spectacles that shock and repel. In "Lips of Thomas," she carved a pentagram in her abdomen and whipped herself senseless...her most famous work is probably "The House With the Ocean View," performed in New York in 2002 (and featured in an episode of "Sex and the City"). For 12 days, the artist lived on three platforms in a Chelsea gallery. She had a bed, a shower and a toilet, but denied herself any nourishment except for mineral water, and any distraction; she could neither read nor write nor speak. Her life was reduced to a minimum, less than the bare essentials. "This piece will be about living in the moment," she said, "in the absolute here and now." But if the piece made demands on Abramovic, it also made demands on the spectators. Upon entering the gallery, a viewer was immediately confronted with a moral choice: did one take a quick look at Abramovic up on her platforms and then depart, treating her like some kind of animal in a zoo, or did one linger and absorb the experience? For those who lingered - and there were many, including Susan Sontag, Salman Rushdie and Bjork - the effect was magical (or perhaps metaphysical)."- Barry Gewen, 'State of the Art', The New York Times Book Review.