In 2010, Marina Abramović sat in the atrium of New York’s Museum of Modern Art for close to three months, seven hours a day—a total of 736 hours and 30 minutes—sustaining eye contact with members of the public seated at a table in front of her. Following this most profoundly monumental work of her career, The Artist Is Present, she treated herself to dessert.
Abramović’s Volcano Flambé, a menu item created in collaboration with the Park Avenue Winter restaurant on New York’s Upper East Side, boasted a centre of dark chocolate ice-cream, almond sponge cake and banana mousse, encased in Swiss meringue and sitting atop a layer of chocolate cookie crumbs, crowned with gold leaf and a swirling halo of spun sugar, coated with dark rum and set alight.
In its review, Das Platforms enthused that the diner “inhabit[s] a different experience, one of distributed sensory intelligence, a slowing, a performance and a cycle of consumption that begs the question ‘what goes on between mind and body, subject and object, creation and destruction, artist and audience, and duration and time?’ ”
Speaking to a surprisingly lighthearted Abramović over the line from São Paulo, it seems entirely possible she may have done it just for the fun of it. “Finally some fresh question!” she says. “No one has ever asked me about this! My work is so serious but actually I really like fun. I like telling dirty jokes! This is a part of me that only friends know because everything looks so serious.”
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