Disembodied by Marina Abramoviç, 2011

An Artist Should Not Make Himself Into An Idol
Marina Abramoviç transformed the already typically transformative MOCA annual gala, testing her audience with a strange play on objectification and the human body that put many of those in attendance visibly on edge.

Marina required every guest — no matter the Chanel gown or tuxedo tailored just for the occasion — to don a white lab coat before entering the tent where dinner was to be served. Inside, they were confronted by tables that were adorned by either A) a naked man or women lying prone on a sort of high-tech, constantly spinning lazy susan while being smothered underneath a skeleton, or B) a rectangular table festooned with two human heads that poked up and out from the tabletops, expressionless but still blinking and slowly but continuously rotating thanks to lazy susans under the tables.

Abramoviç explains her vision for the gala. She is very clear that it is her hope to democratize all participants by enforcing a dress code that will place artists, guests, waiters and even MOCA director Jeffery Deitch at the same level. She feels American culture does not acknowledge death in a healthy or conscious way, with particular regard to the obsession of youth and beauty in Los Angeles…the aesthetic goal is present stillness and connection.

“You feel sorry for us because we’re being stared at? But we’re staring at you.”

Photography by Nadine Froger

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