10 Nov

BONUS fun fact: Marina’s head is actually very loosely balanced on her neck and it could fall off at any time!

Here are nine more facts about Madge Ab that will surprise you and fun you, inspired by this listicle of great importance which is definitely not filler hackwork at Artnet News, in which we learn that the “grandmother of performance art”* did performance art at a museum, her mother didn’t like seeing pictures of her daughter’s breasts, and she affects not to like being famous despite gleefully hanging out with the Beyoncé family and Lady Gaga. None of these are particularly surprising or fun facts and nor are the other six “fun”, “surprising” facts surprising or fun, but what can you do? Clickbait headlines gonna bait clicks.

* Not the nice grandmother, the other grandmother that the mother and grandchildren of performance art would really like to get put away in a care home for her own good because she’s always been a bit unhinged with a nasty streak but now she insists on getting her tits out, telling everyone how when she was a girl she used to eat sawdust soup every day and it never did her any harm, making sexual advances to furniture, and ranting that everyone should stop staring at her even though she does everything possible to seek attention.

1. Her body is made of Play Doh and cannot be destroyed!

Repairing herself is a simple matter of squashing the bits back together. Abramović occasionally stains upholstery or sticks to carpets, and may become dry and brittle if left out too long. She should never be consumed even though she smells like cake. Her face, however, is made of papier-mache and needs to be replaced every few days. It has become less realistic over the past few decades, and the artist herself has said “I don’t want realistic face because this word realistic I hate, it spell out ‘real I stick’ and I get the lifelong dislike of real stick from my mother who I think never love me. Ha ha.”

2 If all her ideas were laid out end to end, they would reach almost halfway from the doors of New York’s MoMA on West 53rd Street to the kerb!

3 She is a huge fan of Magic Roundabout, Jamie and the Magic Torch, Chorlton and the Wheelies, and other British children’s television shows from the 1970s!

Abramović says, “I don’t know why nobody has noticed that they are so trippy, it seem people who make shows are on drug. Perhaps because I am artist I notice this thing.”

4 In another unexpected connection to children’s television, Abramović was due to guest star in the third series of Fraggle Rock, but all her scenes ended up on the cutting room floor!

When asked why, the late Jim Henson would always just shake his head sadly but not answer.


5 When you point at something, Abramović always looks at the end of your finger instead of the item you are indicating!

6 Abramović has all her emails typed out on paper by an assistant, photographed and developed as daguerreotypes by another assistant, transcribed by a third assistant and then finally sent via Hotmail by Abramović clicking with her finger over the assistant’s finger on the mouse!

She says, “I have sacrificed the direct communication by force of my art, some people cannot cope with this I know but is like essential act for serenity of my finger.”

7 Sometimes, when a person complains about Abramović talking with her mouth full, she shows them the semi-masticated, unswallowed food in it and laughs!

8 There is a time travelling cyborg version of Marina Abramović but she and Abramović Prime have been forbidden to ever meet each other by officials from NASA and the CIA!

Abramović’s only public comment on the subject came during her recent Q&A with Justin Bieber at Harvard: “This to me is like fascism. I am serious artist or something and so I think I can decide if spacetime continuum totally collapse or not because of my action! Ha ha.”


9 She says “newkiller” instead of “nuclear” and “expresso” instead of “espresso”, and she doesn’t even understand why people keep correcting her!


  1. Eric Wayne 11/11/2015 at 6:36 AM #

    Yes, she is a poser, and her first performance in the Brooklyn museum in 1979 (fun fact #1) was four years after Chris Burden’s performance, “White Light/White Heat” in which he spent 22 days in a gallery, atop a triangular platform hidden from view, not going home at night like his performance was a day job, and only drinking celery juice. In other words, her infamous performance of 2010 was a softer, (even) more self-aggrandizing, and enormously egoic version of a performance that had been done 35 years earlier. By me, the least you must accomplish in performance art or conceptual art is to do something that hasn’t already been done, and better. She seems to borrow other people’s ideas and work, and then present it as her own, and this works because of her image. She offers a dumbed-down, sometimes eroticized, unchallenging, cliched and romanticized version of more serious work (itself problematic). The public loves that shit!

    • Alistair 11/11/2015 at 10:42 AM #

      I think you’ve nailed one of the major problems with contemporary globalised culture, not just contemporary art: the majority of the public likes and supports dumbed-down, rehashed, neutered, unchallenging derivatives of original work and original artists much more than they like or are willing to support original work and original artists. While they’re alive, anyway.

      MA, if she was ever on the right side of it, many years ago crossed the line dividing challenging art from unchallenging entertainment. I like entertainment too– art can be entertaining and entertainment can be art– but entertainment is still a different thing from art. Art disrupts culture and provokes unusual thoughts or difficult emotions, entertainment confirms culture and is a cathartic safety valve for things we can’t or won’t think about. Just look at all MA’s high school zen-yoga-Oprah twaddle about letting your ego go and being in the moment, and all the dummies (including supposedly serious critics) who treat it like a revelation or an epiphany. Letting go of your critical faculties and sense of self because somebody else tells you to and/or manipulates you into doing it is the very essence and the aim of entertainment (and sometimes of bullying, brainwashing or totalitarianism), not of art.

  2. Alistair 05/12/2015 at 12:36 PM #

    Reblogged this on Alistair Gentry.

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