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Marina Abramovic
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Performance Artist
    (November 30, 1946- )
    Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia
    Works include the 'Rhythm' series (1973-74), 'Balkan Baroque' (1997), 'Seven Easy Pieces' (2005) and 'The Artist Is Present' (2010)
    Self-described 'Grandmother of Performance Art'
    For various performances, she has whipped herself, carved a star into her stomach with a razor, laid naked on a cross of ice for hours, screamed continually until she lost her voice (it took three hours), alternated taking prescription drugs that cause seizures and drugs that produce catatonia, gone without food for twelve days and set herself on fire.
    During her early career, she was still living at home with a mother who had a strict curfew, so 'It's completely insane, but all of my cutting myself, whipping myself, burning myself, everything was done before 10 in the evening.'
    She tries to begin and end her performance pieces on nights of the full moon.
    Her 'The Artist Is Present,' in which she sat immobile in a chair while spectators were invited to sit opposite her, was re-created as a video game, which could be played only during hours when the Museum of Modern Art was open and required waiting in a virtual line first. (The designer noted, 'The game is not hard, and it's not necessarily fun either.')
    Her disciplinarian mother would beat her for showing off.
    She said, 'Never in my life have I cancelled or stopped a performance.'
    'The Artist Is Present' was the most successful exhibition of performance art in the history of the Museum of Modern Art.
    Despite its simplicity, the New York Times noted of 'The Artist Is Present,' 'It has captured the imagination of everyone interested in contemporary art.'
    She said, 'When I am not performing, I am really very quiet and ordinary.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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