Lady Gaga on Marina Abramović: performance artist, friend, and inspiration.
From March 14 to May 31, 2010, the Museum of Modern Art held a major retrospective and performance recreation of Abramović’s work, the biggest exhibition of performance art in MoMA’s history. During the run of the exhibition, Abramović performed “The Artist is Present,” a 736-hour and 30-minute static, silent piece, in which she sat immobile in the museum’s atrium, while spectators were invited to take turns sitting opposite her.
More than 560,000 people visited the exhibition, including several celebrities (of course Gaga was one).
After MoMA, I reached a very large audience. When Lady Gaga says I am her inspiration, you reach kids between 12 and 18. Now I am like a brand – jeans, Coca-Cola.
In a 1974 exhibition, to test the limits of the relationship between performer and audience, Abramović developed one of her most challenging (and best-known) performances. She assigned a passive role to herself, with the public being the force which would act on her.
Abramović had placed upon a table 72 objects that people were allowed to use (a sign informed them) in any way that they chose. Some of these were objects that could give pleasure, while others could be wielded to inflict pain, or to harm her. Among them were a rose, a feather, honey, a whip, scissors, a scalpel, a gun and a single bullet. For six hours the artist allowed the audience members to manipulate her body and actions.
Initially, members of the audience reacted with caution and modesty, but as time passed (and the artist remained impassive) people began to act more aggressively. As Abramović described it later:
What I learned was that if you leave it up to the audience, they can kill you. I felt really violated: they cut up my clothes, stuck rose thorns in my stomach, one person aimed the gun at my head, and another took it away. It created an aggressive atmosphere. After exactly 6 hours, as planned, I stood up and started walking toward the audience. Everyone ran away, to escape an actual confrontation.
In a June 2012 interview with LA Weekly Marina was asked about a trend in performance art - living in a museum.
It is very interesting, how some ideas recycle and become fresh and new. You know the artist Colette? She was very prominent in the 70s, especially in Europe. She made these Marie Antoinette beds with all her belongings, and she would just sleep in the museums and the galleries for enormously long time. Nobody even knew her.
Just a few months later Gaga used that as inspiration for her FAME fragrance launch at the Guggenheim.