1. The Artist is Present – Marina Abramovic
“In 2010 at MoMA, Abramović engaged in an extended performance called, The Artist Is Present. The work was inspired by her belief that stretching the length of a performance beyond expectations serves to alter our perception of time and foster a deeper engagement in the experience. Seated silently at a wooden table across from an empty chair, she waited as people took turns sitting in the chair and locking eyes with her. Over the course of nearly three months, for eight hours a day, she met the gaze of 1,000 strangers, many of whom were moved to tears.”
I love how simple it is, yet has a deeper meaning behind it. It forces the audience to acknowledge the presence of someone else other than their own selves and sometimes it causes people to feel deep sonder.
2. Art School Stole my Virginity – Clayton David
“Clayton David Pettet, a 19-year-old from Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, found himself at the center of a media firestorm in 2013 when he announced his plan to have sex with an anonymous male partner… in front of a gallery audience. The project, called “Art School Stole My Virginity,’ was inspired by his own experience as a 16-year-old student questioning the cultural significance of virginity. But what actually happened, was a little bit different than the show’s tease.
The 120 audience members didn’t end up watching Pettet engaged in his first “sexual” experience; instead, they were asked to “penetrate” the artist’s mouth with a banana. “I think if people were expecting something else, it shows what they really wanted,” the artist told Dazed Digital. “They didn’t want an art piece, they wanted to see me have sex. If they came for the art, they wouldn’t be as disappointed — they’d know there were things to read between the lines for.””
I like the idea of not giving the audience what they expected, and through that, revealing what the audience truly wanted.