Marina Abramovic Slams MTV For Stealing Performance

Marina Abramovic condemns mainstream appropriation of performance work, and reveals her mission to educate the world about real performance art

Speaking in a recent interview with the Huffington Post;

‘I get so angry and fed up with the situation, how performance art is treated, because you know, since 80s and 90s and now, the performance idea has been stolen: by MTV, by television, by theater, by the cinema, by advertising and fashion and in every possible form, without giving any credit to the original art, which is so unhappy, so unfair. If you take a piece of music, you have to pay the rights, but not for performance.’

For Abramovic, the problem lies with the popular ignorance about what performance art actually means, and how it differs from entertainment productions:

‘People misunderstand performance art. … Performance art is not theater, it’s not entertainment. Performance is serious business. In theater, blood is ketchup; in performance, everything’s real’

‘It’s also the context. If you do performance and music, it’s not performance as music. If you do performance in the theater, it’s not performance. It’s really [a] special form of art, different from other forms. It’s very direct, it’s live, and it’s time based.’

Consequently, Abramovic has taken it upon herself to champion performance art, believing it to be her ‘duty is to put performance in a kind of situation where it is mainstream, and respected, and taken care of’:

‘The first thing is to teach the public how to see performance art, to teach the public, what you can see and how you can behave in your own self. Where is your breathing, what is your feeling of presence or absence in your mind, and to really learn the basics of performance language. Nobody is doing such a school, and I think its necessary.’

‘For me, it’s about the legacy at the moment, so I’m working on my own institute on the Hudson. I signed a contract with Rem Koolhaas, the architect, who’s building the building. [The institute is meant] really to educate the public and the audience more about performance, to leave as my concept what I’m going to call the Abramovic method. In theater there is [the] Stanislavski method, but now in performance, it’s going to be the Abramovic method.’

‘My performance school is going to be only long duration work because I’ve found that long duration is a transformative experience for the person doing it, [and] also for the, how you call, the audience watching it. We had at the MoMA 850,000 visitors and that’s definitely example that this kind of work is needed at the moment. We are living in a disconnected society. We lost our center, our spiritual center.’

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