Monday, June 14, 2010

The Artist is Present



As Brian Feldman got closer to the front of the line at MoMA's "The Artist is Present" exhibition, it was getting near the end of the day. Several times he walked out of the room and I feared that he might have given up or changed his mind. Instead, he was charging his iPhone so he could continue to text updates to people following his progress. When Brian was on deck, the next person to go on the floor, a guard stood next to him talking for some time. From my perch at a third floor window overlooking the room, I couldn't hear what was being said. Later, Brian told me that the guard had reservations about letting Brian sit opposite Marina Abramovic in his white robe. He feared Brian might be planning something disruptive.

I worked on this sketch for over an hour before Brian sat down. I simply left the seat empty where Brian would sit until he was finally in place. Since I was in a black suit, some people may have thought I was a guard; I was asked more than a few times about the event and was happy to answer questions. A small group of people clustered around the window I was drawing from, and wanted to know all about Brian. I couldn't help but offer some background on this amazingly charged clash of titans.


From the moment Brian sat down, he said he felt Marina was in total control. Towards the middle of their time together, Marina placed her hand to her chest and gasped lightly. Then, she once again regained composure and remained in control. When Brian walked away, Marina leaned forward and wiped her eyes with the palms of her hands. After it all was over, MoMA visitors stopped Brian and asked him questions as he walked around the museum. He said that he was ready to stare at Marina all day, but was still grateful for the brief moment he had been granted. I think this trip to NYC made a major impression on Brian. Walking the streets afterward, he was carefree and lighthearted. I have never seen him so happy.

2 comments:

Sultana said...

Two talented performance artists facing off at MOMA - what a great moment captured! Incredible exhibit for MOMA :)

Mme Paulita said...

way cool