Marina Abramovic was not happy when she found herself involved in the latest email scandal surrounding WikiLeaks and John Podesta. Many took note of Abramovic’s invitation in the latest batch of leaked emails. Marina invited Tony Podesta, who is John’s brother to a “Spirit Cooking” dinner at her place. Marina asked if John might want to be included. A YouTube video of Abramovic painting with the pigs’ blood during a 1997 “Spirit Cooking” performance has been in circulation.
“I am so looking forward to the Spirit Cooking dinner at my place. Do you think you will be able to let me know if your brother is joining?”
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) November 4, 2016
Marina spoke with Andrew Russet of Art News on the phone to discuss the recent “Spirit Cooking” controversy.
“I’m outraged, because this is taken completely out of my context… It was just a normal dinner… It was actually just a normal menu, which I call spirit cooking. There was no blood, no anything else. We just call things funny names, that’s all.” Marina’s Kickstarter page advertised “traditional soups.”
“Spirit Cooking” was a staged performance which was held at a number of museums around the world in which Marina painted graffiti with pigs’ blood. Now, many are claiming Marina is involved with Satanic rituals.
— Joe Biggs (@Rambobiggs) November 4, 2016
The video showing Marina writing statements in blood shocked many and made #SpiritCooking a top trend on Twitter on Friday morning. Another tweet which was shared over 1,000 times compared her to the serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer, according to Art News. Abramovic is known for work that focuses on pain, blood, and the relationship between the performer and the audience.
Marina has won many awards, including the Golden Lion at Venice. Marina told The Guardian, “Good art is never made in studio… Good art I make in life.” Abramovic told Russet of Art News that her memoir displays how non-Satanic her artwork is. The book was released this week and is reported to be doing well on Amazon.
— Bookshop Santa Cruz (@BookshopSC) October 25, 2016
“Anybody who wants can read my memoirs and find out that [my work] is far away from Satanism… My work is really more about spirituality and not anything else… I’ve been doing my work for so long, and this is a misunderstanding.”
In the past, Marina worried about how the public would receive her work, according to The Guardian.
“If I’m not nervous, I’m nervous. You never know how people are going to receive the work.”
According to Russet, Marina said Tony Podesta has collected her art since the 1990s and he attended the dinner at Sean Kelly Art Gallery. Marina explained the dinner was a reward for those who donated to a Kickstarter campaign she ran. Abramovic said she has never met John Podesta, according to The Guardian.
Abramovic told Art News about 10 people attended the dinner.
“It’s absolutely outrageous and ridiculous.”
Abramovic was in relatively good spirits, somewhat exasperated, but maintaining a sense of humor about the scandal.
“I mean, this world is really turning to hell… I am completely amazed, something is taken out of context for the purpose of winning… We are living in such a strange world.”
Marina Abramovic’s Epic Great Wall Of China Breakup
Marina Abramovic and Ulay are famed for their 12-year artistic partnership and romantic relationship. The lovers and co-creators devised a series of works exploring their partnership for more than a decade, according to The Guardian. The two eventually split in 1988, but in an incredible fashion. Abramovic and Ulay walked from opposite ends of the Great Wall of China for three months to meet and then part in the middle. This journey was filmed for 90 days along The Great Wall of China and called “The Long Walk.”
The next time Abramovic and Frank Uwe Laysiepen, known as Ulay, saw each other was at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) in New York. In 2010, Abramovic sat passively across from strangers and celebrities at MoMa in a piece titled “The Artist Is Present.” The surprise reunion was an inspiration for the music video, “How I Became the Bomb,” with over 29 million views on YouTube. The experience was turned into a documentary and adapted into a music video by Jay Z.
Marina tells The Guardian about the moment Ulay sat in front of her.
“Everyone has his own love story… That moment, that guy sitting in front of me, my whole life went through my head. Never mind this is life, never mind this is performance. This is pure human emotion. And that’s why everyone reacting. It’s performance that break into life.”
Marina told The Guardian that she was “ready to die” during the performance. In opposition to her artwork, Abramovic said she is “old fashioned” in real life.
“Of course, I dream to have this perfect man, who does not want to change me. And I’m so not marriage material, it’s terrible. But my dream is to have those Sunday mornings, where you’re eating breakfast and reading newspapers with somebody.”
Marina Abramovic Sued By Ulay
In 2015 Marina was being sued by her former collaborator and romantic partner, Ulay, in a dispute over works they created jointly, according to The Guardian. Ulay claimed Abramovic asked galleries to list her as the sole author of their joint works. Ulay made an allegation that Marina’s people failed to provide him with accurate statements of sales. Art News reported he claimed Abramovic violated the terms of a 1999 contract that stipulated that the two artists would share recognition for the works in question. The Guardian reported Ulay said Ambrovic has paid him four times in the course of 16 years.
“She is not just a former business partner… The whole oeuvre has made history. It’s now in school books. But she has deliberately misinterpreted things, or left my name out.”
Abramovic’s lawyer said she “totally disagrees” with Ulay’s allegations, according to The Guardian.
“My client doesn’t want to comment on them, they are libelous. My client considers that this lawsuit is abusive and aimed to damage her reputation in public, which is proven by his allegations to you. My client is very confident in her position in front of the court. She will defend her rights and reputation by all legal means.”
Ulay won the case. A Dutch court ordered Abramović to pay Ulay over €250,000 for joint works created between the years of 1976 and 1988. The two artists are now promoting their shared legacy, according to Ulay’s lawyer in a statement provided to The Guardian.
“Marina and I shared a period of intense artistic collaboration, and the works from that period are our joint spiritual property. I respect what Marina has achieved since then, and never wanted this confrontation… However, I felt compelled to defend my legacy, my moral rights as a joint author, and my right to agreed royalties from sales of these works… I hope that we can now make peace with respect, put this case behind us, and work together to promote our shared artistic legacy.”
[Featured Images by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP Images]