David Smoler
Owen Gleiberman
June 15, 2012 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
runtime
105 minutes
Limited Release Date
06/13/12
distributor
Music Box Films
genre
Documentary

We gave it an A-

This portrait of the avant-garde superstar Marina Abramovi? tells a fascinating tale, because it’s about something bigger than one artist. It taps into the ways that the radical underground art world got seduced by the bourgeois passion for fame. Born in Yugoslavia, Abramovi? began as a shock-installation performance artist (her 12-year love affair with fellow exhibitionist Ulay is touching, and a bit like a Christopher Guest movie). The film charts her journey to museum-world icon, culminating in a show at MoMA that consisted of Abramovi? sitting in a chair, with one civilian after another invited to drink in her beatific gaze. We’re given an intimate seat to this wildly democratic — and creepily messianic — spectacle. A-

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