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Movie review: 'Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present'

Movie review: ‘Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present'
BY DENNIS KING Special Correspondent Published: July 27, 2012

In person, Abramovic comes across as likable, painfully candid, unconventionally beautiful and unpretentious but largely inscrutable. Among the film's most revealing sequences is a reunion during the MOMA show with the German performance artist Ulay, her former partner of 12 years who comes back into her life during the New York installation. Her affectionately bickering interactions with him — along with samples of their past collaborations — are especially tender and insightful.

For all the intellectual noodling and academic acrobatics that the film trots out to underscore the meaning of her work, Abramovic herself is quite candid about the down side of being an obscure, avant-garde artist.

“After 40 years of people thinking you're insane and should be put in a mental hospital, you finally get all this acknowledgement,” she said during the frenzy surrounding her MOMA show. “I've been ‘alternative' since I was born. Excuse me, I'm 63, I don't want to be ‘alternative' anymore. I want to be respected before I die.”

— Dennis King


‘Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present'