Live Nude Art at MoMA raising hands and…

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Marina Abramovic’s “The Artist is Present”

(NEWSER) – It’s not only spectators who are getting frisky at a Museum of Modern Art show featuring live nude models. One male on display in the Manhattan exhibit was so aroused by the experience that he was asked to leave, reports Page Six. The exhibit by artist Marina Abramovic features a nude couple standing in a doorway so that visitors have to squeeze between them. Some of the 38 nude models have complained that museumgoers are getting touchy-feely—but this is the first model asked to leave.[From Lusty MOMA Nude is Booted From Museum ]

I admit that at first I didn’t understand the point of this exhibit. it appeared to me to be structured to deliberately make the patrons and the models very uncomfortable. I found the idea of something that could put the life models potentially in harms way or make them very uncomfortable to be disturbing. In addition, most of the publicity center around the issues with the models being harassed, and one of the male models being fired for getting an erection, there has been very little written about the work itself.

Upon further research I found out more about the nature of the exhibit itself..

The exhibit features 38 performers in rotating shifts of eight facing each other at a doorway or lying under a skeleton or posing in other pieces, mostly in the nude. …

All the performers went through a mini-boot camp at the artist’s Hudson Valley hideaway in a bid to prepare for anything. For five days, they led a monk-like existence — fasting, not speaking and not reading — while doing exercises designed to help them develop self-control, including bathing in an icy pond, walking in slow motion and counting grains of rice, said MoMA’s Erica Papernik, whose job is to make the performers’ rotations as smooth as possible. A clothed Abramovic is also on display in the exhibit. Visitors can sit across from her. Elke Luyten, a 35-year-old performer, called the show a welcome test of self-discipline, even if she occasionally cries while lying under the skeleton. “I never feel awkward. I never feel strange,” she said. “Even when teenagers laugh, I never feel laughed at. Because Marina is there on the second floor, you feel you’re part of something bigger.”

[From Naked models at MoMA “The Artist is Present” exhibit are getting groped – NYPOST.com]

the artwork appears to be just as much about the discipline and discomfort of the models as the reactions of the patrons. as a living artwork it encompasses the emotions of the players into the piece. I didn’t understand what was artistic about getting people to stand in doorways, but the creation of the work began with the bootcamp and was clearly very well thought out. I find myself very sorry that I won’t get to experience it. the artist being a part of the exhibit, but clothed is an interesting touch.
as far as the difficulties go, I still find that uncomfortable to deal with. the idea that the models have to cope with being groped and be unable to react sends shivers down my spine. I am glad that they have been prepared and that there are such security measures in place. the model being ejected for getting an erection is a different matter. I realize it changes the nature of the rating as it were, but it’s a natural and uncontrollable reflex and I don’t believe the model should have been held responsible and fired, just allowed a brief respite until everything was back under control.

One thought on “Live Nude Art at MoMA raising hands and…

  1. It’s an absolutely fascinating concept. I don’t find it sexual at all. The fact that the guy got an erection and subsequently fired is SO ridiculous! He didn’t stand there masturbating did he? For goodness sake, what did they expect to happen for that amount of time? Surely someone thought of that.

    I believe that the way that these people are being reacted to is in itself the “artwork”. It’s like an exaggerated view of how we are all viewed in a way, and how we all feel about ourselves. Self-consciousness in it’s raw form.

    The weirdest part I think is the actual artist sitting there CLOTHED. I mean, if the artist insists on sitting there the whole time – surely they should also be nude? That seems weird. Like, “Oh I want to do this, but I don’t want to be the one to get nude!”

    Otherwise, I don’t find it strange at all.

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