Connecting the Dots: Yvonne Rainer in response to Marina Abramovic

For those of your who read my last post, I talked about the incredible work of Serbian, New York-based performance artist Marina Abramovic.  I felt a need to discuss her and her work after the fun website source I talked about earlier, Visual Therapy, posted photographs and information about a gala Marina artistically directed at MoCA.  Check the page out here: MOCA Gala Art // Marina Abramović.

I was looking at one of my dancer friend’s facebook wall and was surprised to find she posted a link to an article about the recent gala.  The article is titled “Read Yvonne Rainer’s Final Letter Decrying Marina Abramovic’s MOCA Performance.”  It’s somewhat self explanatory, but to add some context, Yvonne Rainer is an extremely famous choreographer and experimental filmmaker, well-known for her post-modern work with the Judson Church in the 60′s.  You may recall Ilana showing us Trio A, her most famous choreographic solo, in Modern drama.  One of my favorite films of all time, “Film About a Woman Who…” was made by Yvonne Rainer.  I only mean to express that I’m a great fan.

Reading this article took me by surprise and I’m still not quite sure how to feel.  Yvonne speaks about the work being grotesque and masochistic, with mostly white women poking their heads through tables to be greeted by inebriated bourgeoise patrons.  Something does feel wrong about this, but if the volunteers want to be participants, why should anyone stop them?  And in this article, Marina responds to say that her hope is that the energy of the room will be affected by the art.  Although I feel this may be true,  I am curious to what extent this will be so.  Nonetheless, I am interested in the experiment occurring.  Yet notable that an artist like Yvonne Rainer would not support this.  What does this say about her art?

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