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Marina Abramović (#110 of 6)

Ivo van Hove on Directing Scenes from a Marriage and Angels in America

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Ivo van Hove on Directing Scenes from a Marriage and Angels in America
Ivo van Hove on Directing Scenes from a Marriage and Angels in America

Theater director Ivo van Hove has made a habit of breaching borders. Born in Belgium, he currently runs the internationally renowned Toneelgroep Amsterdam in the Netherlands and also brings his work to New York with welcome regularity. More significantly, van Hove makes an art of erasing the barrier not only between actor and audience, but also between one scene and another.

During the presidential 2012 election, his epochal production Roman Tragedies, which played at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, ran for nearly six hours without any breaks. Van Hove edited Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, and Anthony and Cleopatra to focus both the text and the theatrical experience on the relationship between politicians and the public. Audiences were encouraged to come and go where and when they pleased—even up onto the stage. The production became an exhilarating and indelible exercise in democracy, mounted by one of the reigning auteurs in global theater.

Review: The Life and Death of Marina Abramović

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Review: <em>The Life and Death of Marina Abramović</em>
Review: <em>The Life and Death of Marina Abramović</em>

The Museum of Modern Art’s 2010 exhibition of performance artist Marina Abramović’s life work, five years after the Guggenheim allowed her to “re-perform” seven performances by herself and others, cemented Abramović’s conversion into performance art’s ruling figure, at once parent to the form and gatekeeper of its history, at least in the public imagination. Those who’ve accused her of crossing the thin line from self-sacrificing hero to self-aggrandizing celebrity will likely be further displeased by The Life and Death of Marina Abramović, an impressionistic theatrical biography co-authored and co-starring Abramović, and designed and directed by Robert Wilson. Here we see Abramović as a living saint, already transubstantiated.

The evening is framed as a funeral for Abramović (newspapers are distributed to the audience with the headline, “ARTIST MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ DIES AT 67”), who begins by lying in a white robe on a coffin-shaped table and ends drifting into the air in the same gown. She’s flanked by two women, and in the finale a triptych of black crows peppers the sky. The two-and-a-half-hour work might have been called The Passion of Marina.

Track Review: Lady Gaga, “Venus”

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Track Review: Lady Gaga, “Venus”
Track Review: Lady Gaga, “Venus”

Another week, another Lady Gaga single pseudo-controversy. A snippet of “Venus,” the latest promotional single from the singer’s new album, Artpop, hadn’t even been released yet when accusations of thievery began to fly. Gaga credits the late jazz musician Sun Ra’s 1966 song “Rocket Number Nine Take Off for the Planet Venus” as the basis for some of the song’s lyrics, but French electronic duo Zombie Zombie took to their Facebook page last week to cry foul. Their 2012 track “Rocket Number 9,” which likewise co-opts Sun Ra’s lyrics, sounds awfully similar to Gaga’s release, for which three different covers were shot by Steven Klein, one of which (pictured above) emulates a portrait of mentor Marina Abramović from 2005. It wouldn’t be the first time two artists had the same idea, but this latest copyright kerfuffle comes on the heels of two other Artpop songs, “Aura” and “Do What U Want,” whose backing tracks have similarly dodgy origins. (The lesson Ms. Germanotta apparently learned from the fallout over her 2011 single “Born This Way” was to swipe from lesser-known artists.)

Video Review: Lady Gaga, “Applause”

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Video Review: Lady Gaga, “Applause”
Video Review: Lady Gaga, “Applause”

It’s been a big month for the Gagasphere. Following a months-long, self-imposed Twitter exile, Lady Gaga bared all in a video for Serbian performance artist Marina Abramović; she issued a “pop music emergency” after a hacker allegedly leaked her new song, “Applause,” a week early; she implored viewers not to buy the single in a bizarre attempt at reverse psychology in a promo by Haus of Gaga; she dropped a lyric video, the latest marketing trend to bide the time between a song’s premiere and its official music video’s debut, featuring stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race; and, finally, unveiled said music video on jumbo screens in Times Square this morning.