New York

Marina Abramović

Sean Kelly Gallery

Marina Abramović’s The House with the Ocean View, 2002, may well be one of the most important live artworks of the decade, but not for obvious reasons. Not only because the artist produced an elegant work that continues themes from a thirty-year career that has included performances of extreme endurance. Nor because she connected with her audience at a time when intimacy between artist and viewer is rare in immaculate Chelsea galleries. But because House is a work of pure theater. Without a single word, and with a minimum of means, Abramović created a deeply existential drama on the nature of living in the “here and now,” as she refers to the present tense.

For twelve days and nights, and in full view of audiences during gallery hours, Abramović theatricalized the rituals of daily life: sleeping, drinking, going to the bathroom. Dressed in a tunic and pants reminiscent of Alexander Rodchenko’s

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