new-york

View of “Marni Kotak,” 2014.

Marni Kotak

Microscope Gallery

View of “Marni Kotak,” 2014.

This summer, Microscope Gallery presented Mad Meds, 2014, a work by Marni Kotak, who is perhaps best known for her infamous 2011 piece The Birth of Baby X, in which she gave birth to her son in this very same gallery before a live audience. As she did for that earlier work, Kotak here exposed the public to something that usually takes place in private, in this case the process of weaning herself from postpartum-depression medications—a strong cocktail of antidepressants, antipsychotics, and antianxiety drugs. During the run of the exhibition, Kotak made herself readily available to those present, talking with visitors, writing (in gold pen and, as recommended by her psychiatrist, using her nondominant hand), and exercising, inviting her audience to join her. She admitted that she didn’t always feel up to conversation. Even the slow, supervised reduction of medication dosages

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