If you’ve always sensed some nothingness in the work of celebrated performance
diva artist Marina Abramovic, you’ll be glad to know it’s official.
Discussing her new work at the Serpentine Gallery, her first since The Artist is Present, she says:
I had this vision of an empty gallery — nothing there.
So far, so good. So radical and avant garde! Her show is called “512 Hours,” the amount of time she will be present at the gallery, where patrons will enter an empty room and do nothing, or something.
There is just me. And the public. It is insane what I try to do.
Oh Marina, you kook! You bring the nothing, and we love you for it! Well, I don’t, but whatever.The gallery’s curators have received a number of letters, accusing Abramovic and the gallery of failing to acknowledge the work of Mary Ellen Carroll, a New York-based conceptual artist who has been working on a project called “Nothing” since 1984, describing it as “an engagement with the public.”
The Serpentine’s curator admits that many artists (including John Cage and Yoko Ono) have explored the relationship between art and nothingness. The matter is far from settled but Abramovic has responded a bit defensively:
It’s not that I’m doing nothing — quite the opposite. It’s just that there is nothing except people in the space.
See, you idiots? You fucking philistines! Back off. Get out of her grille.
I like this paragraph about Marina, from a profile at CNN online: “She has danced with Jay Z in his music video, counts James Franco and Lady Gaga as loyal fans and friends, and was named as one of Time Magazine’s most influential people of 2014.”
I think it sums up her place in our culture, although I also believe there was a time when she was a genuine artist with something to say.
Meanwhile, if you want, you can watch her sell out to Adidas, below.