The Artist Is Present: The Life and Work of Marina Abramovic

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HBO's new documentary (Matthew Akers, Jeff Dupre) follows the prolific Yugoslavian performance artist as she prepares for the event she's been working towards her entire life: a retrospective of her work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

For the retrospective (which was up in 2010, originating the name The Artist Is Present), Marina selected 30 young, emerging performance artists to perform her past pieces just as she had originally. The group is invited to Marina's Hudson, NY, home for an artists' retreat of sorts, where they can observe and practice and train with the artist herself.


In addition, Marina has created a new performance piece for her MOMA show, a grueling exercise in mental rigor and physical patience: day in, day out, for the full 3 months of the show's run, Marina will sit in a straight-back chair, her face neutral and eye opens, and allow museum patrons to come sit in a chair opposite her for as long as they like. In practice, it provokes surprisingly emotional reactions.

This is a fascinating portrait of a celebrated modern, working artist—a woman whose career has been tracked for decades, but of whose life we've known little till now. [HBOGo]