Marina Abramovic, the legendary performance artist, is legendary for a reason. She has spent four decades making traumatic and transcendent artworks using her own body as a material, breaking through the boundaries of the acceptable in visual art. In the early 1970s alone, she lost consciousness while lying in the center of a burning five-pointed star (symbol of the communism of her native Yugoslavia), took pills to induce hyperactivity and then catatonia, and remained determinedly passive as an audience member pushed a loaded gun to her neck.
When Marina Abramovic Dies examines the extraordinary life and death-defying work of one of contemporary art's most important and pioneering performance artists. It chronicles the artist's formative and until now undocumented years in Yugoslavia and looks closely at Abramovic's partnership with the German artist Ulay - one of the twentieth century's great examples of the fusion of artistic and private life. In their final performance, Abramovic and Ulay walked toward each other from opposite ends of the Great Wall of China until, after ninety days, they met in the middle and said goodbye.
In one of many performances of the renewed solo career that followed, Abramovic famously lived in a New York gallery for twelve days without eating or speaking, nourished only by eye contact with the audience. It was here, in 2002, that author James Westcott first encountered Abramovic, beginning an exceptionally close collaboration of biographer and subject. For When Marina Abramovic Dies, Westcott draws on his personal observations of Abramovic, his unprecedented access to her archive, and hundreds of hours of interviews with the artist and the people closest to her. The result is a unique and vivid portrait of the charismatic self-proclaimed "grandmother of performance art."
©2010 James Westcott (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
I'm Audible's first Editor-at-Large, the host of In Bed with Susie Bright -- and a longtime author, editor, journo, and bookworm. I listen to audio when I'm cooking, playing cards, knitting, going to bed, waking up, driving, and putting other people's kids to bed! My favorite audiobooks, ever, are: "True Grit" and "The Dog of the South."
I am listening to this book for the third time, entirely out of my own fascination and enchantment. If there was a Sleeper category for the Audies, this would win hands down.
James Westcott wrote a contemporary fine art biography that broke every rule, starting with the fact that you can’t put it down. — I’m serious, he’s been criticized among the academic crowd for writing an artist biography that is TOO interesting.
I never would’ve guessed that a starkly visual artist’s narrative would make an outstanding audio script, but Westcott intuitively writes for aural transmission— it you never SAW Abramovic in person, you would still experience her, entirely, in this story. And she is a force of nature.
Narrator, Kathleen Gati; I want to kiss her feet. What a talent. She inhabits a host of radical and conservative Serbian characters, the Soviet establishment, and then the entire European and New York art world. Mind-blowing.
"Entertaining if not that illuminating"
Not my best read yet, but a good choice, no regrets.
no stand out periods for me, interesting all the way through.
i respond positively to the shamanistic aspect of her work, and enjoy what little discussion there was on that. I enjoyed learning about her work ethic. Shes a true professional artist. It would be good to have her as a friend I think. But, no tears, no laughs.
Could have had more analysis of her actual work. In recent times shes been involved with celebrities such as Lady GaGa, she enjoys her luxury brands, whose people fall over themselves to dress her etc, shes been accused of insisting on exploitative contracts for her employees/collaborators and has become unpopular with many artists who think that the integrity of her work/her person, has been lost...this is not explored at all.
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