Tuesday, June 15, 2010
A Tibetan Monk was the second-to-last person to sit opposite Marina Abramovic as part of "The Artist is Present." A friend from high school named Bonnie Rose had joined me, and we returned to the exhibit which was now packed. I tried to see Marina and the Tibetan Monk by jumping up to see over all the heads. I discovered I got a decent view when I stood on my camping stool. Brian wanted to see the final moments of the performance so I let him stand on the stool. When the last person walked off the exhibit floor leaving Marina alone, the audience burst into applause. Marina then started shaking hands of people who surrounded her. Everyone in the room seemed to have an iPhone, digital camera or video camera and they all raised them over their heads to take photos. To me it was an iconic sight, a sort of digital salute with all the cameras offering validation and acknowledgment that an important moment was happening.
Actress Liv Tyler pushed through the crowd with her entourage past us. Suddenly, Brian came crashing down from the camping stool I have used for years. It had had enough and ripped wide open. I asked if he could get up and he was stuck. I grabbed him under his right arm an lifted him up. I was surprised by how light he is. The room was still filled with thunderous applause. The guards were creating a break in the crowd right in front of us so Marina could be ushered out. Brian yelled out that I should get one of my sketches signed by Marina. I scrambled around looking for a pen and had just gotten ready when she passed in front of us. Her attention was diverted by some of her friends opposite us so she never noticed the sketch. I had arrived in NYC at 7:30 or so in the morning and I was flying out late that night. It was a whirlwind day that I will never forget. Next to us was a sign that read: "Today is the final day of the exhibition, "Marina Abromovic: The Artist is Present."