Recently artist Marina Abramović did a performance piece at the Museum of Modern Art where museumgoers lined up to sit in a chair and stare at her for an undetermined length of time (as long as they wanted or, from what friends say who followed it closely, until they upstaged the artist with aberrant behavior and were hustled away by museum guards).
A writer for the Antiwar.com blog has a slightly different take on Marina Abramović than that of the typical jaded art person in New York. While the latter might see her as the owner of two handsome dwellings feted in the New York Times home-and-garden section, thrower of fab Soho parties and orchestrator of new media three-ring entertainments, the former takes at face value that she is a shamanic martyr figure, and roots the pain-and-endurance aspect of her work in her earlier life experience as a Serb and refugee from Communism:
The artist’s influences are chiefly the air of Yugoslav nationalism in the postwar years — both parents were popular WWII figures; her great uncle was the patriarch of the Serbian Church — and the stark and dreary oppression of Tito’s communist regime. Abramović came of age under this anti-individualist orthodoxy; might this lead one to experiment further with self-denial, self-imposed stress positions — a popular tool in the torturer’s repertoire — and self-inflicted pain?
This rhetorical question presented in the interests of fairness and balance.