|Dedicated to Susan Sontag
From November 9 through November 15, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presents Marina Abramović: Seven Easy Pieces, seven consecutive nights of performances in the Frank Lloyd Wright rotunda from 5 PM to 12 AM.
Since the early 1970s, Marina Abramović has pioneered the use of performance as a visual art form. The body has always served as her subject and medium, and the parameters of her early works were determined by her endurance. Exploring the physical and mental limits of her being, she has withstood pain, exhaustion, and danger in the quest for transformation. With Seven Easy Pieces Abramović reenacts seminal performance works by her peers dating from the 1960s and ’70s. The project is premised on the fact that little documentation exists for most performances from this critical early period; one often has to rely upon testimonies from witnesses or photographs that show only portions of any given piece. Seven Easy Pieces examines the possibility of redoing and preserving an art form that is, by nature, ephemeral.
November 9, 5 PM to 12 AM
Bruce Nauman, Body Pressure (1974). Nauman constructed a false wall nearly identical in size to an existing wall behind it. A pink poster with black typeface invited visitors to perform their own action by pressing against the wall.
November 10, 5 PM to 12 AM
Vito Acconci, Seedbed (1972). Acconci occupied the space under a false floor, masturbating and speaking through a microphone to visitors walking above in an attempt to establish an “intimate” connection with them.
November 11, 5 PM to 12 AM
VALIE EXPORT, Action Pants: Genital Panic (1969). Wearing pants with the crotch removed, EXPORT walked through an art cinema, offering the spectators visual contact with a real female body. Walking up and down the aisles, she challenged the audience to look at reality instead of passively enjoying images of women on the screen.
November 12, 5 PM to 12 AM
Gina Pane, The Conditioning, first action of Self-Portrait(s) (1973). Pane lay on a metal bed above lit candles for approximately thirty minutes. Her sufferiing was apparent to the audience, who witnessed her wringing her hands in pain.
November 13, 5 PM to 12 AM
Joseph Beuys, How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare (1965). With his head covered in honey and gold leaf, Beuys cradled a dead hare, showing it pictures on the wall and whispering to it. He wore an iron sole on his right foot and a felt sole on his left.
November 14, 5 PM to 12 AM
Marina Abramović, Lips of Thomas (1975, Galerie Krinzinger, Innsbruck). Abramović ate a kilogram of honey and drank a liter of red wine out of a glass. She broke the glass with her hand, incised a star in her stomach with a razor blade, and then whipped herself until she “no longer felt pain.” She lay down on an ice cross while a space heater suspended above caused her to bleed more profusely.
November 15, 5 PM to 12 AM
Marina Abramović, Entering the Other Side (2005). Abramović premieres a new performance created specifically for this project.
Lecture, November 18, 6:30 PM
Upon the project’s conclusion, Abramović and Curator of Contemporary Art, Nancy Spector, reflect on the experience of recalling, reviving, and preserving such important performative works. $10 ($7 for members, students, and seniors) - for tickets, call the Box Office at 212.423.3500.
Funding for Seven Easy Pieces has been generously provided by the Marina Abramović Leadership Committee. In-kind support provided by Chrome Hearts and Carl Zeiss, Inc.
ABOVE: Marina Abramović. Performance stills from Lips of Thomas, 1975. Photos courtesy of the artist and Sean Kelly Gallery, New York. ©2005 Artists Rights Society (ARS). NY/VG Bild-Kunst. Bonn.