In 2010, at the Museum of Modern Art, the reknowned performance artist Marina Abramovic sat motionless and silent, six days a week, seven hours a day, and looked right at whoever sat in a chair opposite her. In her latest piece, entitled 512 Hours, Ms. Abramovic has gone a step further. She’s appearing in an empty London gallery, where, when she was asked what would happen, she replied, “I honestly don’t know; I don’t have a plan. That is the point. The idea is that the public are my material, and I am theirs. I will open the gallery myself and close it at 6 PM, with my key.”
Ms. Abramovic described her inspiration for this piece: “I had this vision of an empty gallery – nothing there.” Ms. Abramovic has been accused of copying the work of another performance artist, Mary Ellen Carroll, who was been working on a similar piece, entitled Nothing, since 1984. Ms. Abramovic has made quite a bit of money from her pieces, and has opened the Marina Abramovic Institute in Hudson, New York, “a center for long-durational work.” During her latest piece, she gave one visitor a small mirror and told her to walk backward, using the mirror as a guide. “Reality is behind you,” she whispered.
To avoid further accusations of plagiarism, here are some suggestions for future pieces by Ms. Abramovic:
– She could ask all the visitors to an empty gallery to leave their purses and wallets in a pile on the bare floor. Then, as the visitors watched, Ms. Abramovic would rifle through their belongings, removing only large bills.
– Ms, Abramovic could ask people to email her their credit card information, which she would use to buy herself many pairs of expensive shoes. She would tell the participants, “It’s as if we are wearing the shoes together.”
– Ms. Abramovic could receive funding to remain at her home, snacking in bed. This piece could be termed, “A multi-dimensional exploration of carbs.”
– Participants would pay for Ms. Abramovic to travel throughout the world, staying at luxury hotels and getting massages. In return, Ms. Abramovic would demand additional donations for facials. Ms. Abramovic could announce, “I am calling this piece, Hello, Suckers.”
– In order to reach the widest possible audience, Ms. Abramovic would post a video on Youtube, asking viewers, in multiple languages, to “Tell me why you love me, and why you think I’m beautiful. Then share your responses with as many people as possible. Then send me the title to your home, via registered mail.”