In recent weeks, our family and friends who live elsewhere have been asking us one question, and one question only: have you been to see the naked people yet?
The answer, at long last, is yes. We've been to see the naked people.
Marina Abramović's retrospective at MoMA, The Artist Is Present, features video footage of past performances and live re-creations with, you guessed it, people sans drawers. Above, a woman sneaks through a doorway flanked by two nudes. In the related footage, taken when Abramović and her then-partner Ulay originally performed the piece, attendees barreled through, with no regard for what they brushed against. While we were there, people moved far more squeamishly, in contrast to recent articles reporting that some MoMA visitors had been taking liberties with the artists.
Elsewhere two artists sat back to back, their long hair woven into a single braid. A video played nearby, of Ulay and Abramović walking toward one another from opposite ends of the Great Wall of China; when they met, they shook hands and broke up. In another room, a naked woman sat high on a wall, resting on a bicycle seat, her arms outstretched. She made eye contact with one of us. We, in turn, looked back. Her eyes were brown.
Photo: Joshua Bright for the
New York Times, featuring Jacqueline Lounsbury and Layard Thompson (thanks)