Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday is the new Saturday

Since starting to work with my Dubai client about two months ago, BobOnARoll has gradually conformed his work habits to practices in the UAE, where the weekends are Fri & Sat, and Sunday is the beginning of the work week. If this assignment lasts through the summer, every Friday will be a getaway day, though am usually back on the phone and email traffic first thing Sunday morning. Fortunately, this will not interfere with my church-going, but there will be less time for cycling, tennis and golf.....oh well.

After a few odds and ends handled this morning, met Paulo and Barbara for lunch in midtown and then spent a few hours with them at MOMA. Had been looking forward to the William Kentridge show since I saw his The Nose at the Met, as well as the Cartier-Bresson photo exhibition. Plus, everyone has been buzzing about the Marina Abramovic performance art piece, where she sits silently and motionless all day on a chair at a plain wooden table in the center of the exhibition space, and the audience is allowed to sit opposite her, one at a time, and stare back, or engage in whatever activity suits them, I suppose. Here's a live videolink to the exhibition:

The Kentridge work is brilliant, and especially so when considering that the animations exist only in the final work itself---meaning that it's not a sequence of finished drawings that are filmed and knitted together seamlessly, rather the herky-jerky nature of the work stems from the fact that the viewer sees the organic creation unfold as the artist does----he erases and re-draws on the same plane over and over. Here's an example of one of my favorites:

The Abramovic show was split in two parts: the 'main event' on the second floor and smaller scale live and filmed vignettes on the sixth. Nude! nude! nude! on 6. But the main floor space struck me as almost sacred space. In spite of the crowds milling about, a total serene silence enveloped the rectangular space dividing us from her and her 'guest' . Clothed in a full elegant red velvet gown, Abramovic appeared as a high priestess in a setting of pure eyes-wide-open contemplation. The only feasible response, it seemed to me, was for the person sitting opposite her to adopt the same silent, motionless stare. Most do. I was curious about how she determined the dimensions of the performance space----the sense of paired intimacy and distance being a function of the geometry, as well as the lighting.

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