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May 28th, 2008

Marina Abramović.

I hadn’t been to the Guggenheim in a few years. I went this past Friday, Cai Guo-Qiang had a show I wanted to see. I photographed him for TIME awhile back and have since been randomly finding new work of his in unexpected ways, always smart, always leaving me different then before I saw it.

The last time I went, the best part, was what I saw through this window after leaving the show. I still think it’s one of the more beautiful things I have ever seen. Earlier that night I watched one of Marina’s performances, this one:

November 14, 5 PM to 12 AM 2005.
Marina Abramović, Lips of Thomas (1975, Galerie Krinzinger, Innsbruck). Abramović ate a kilogram of honey and drank a liter of red wine out of a glass. She broke the glass with her hand, incised a star in her stomach with a razor blade, and then whipped herself until she “no longer felt pain.” She lay down on an ice cross while a space heater suspended above caused her to bleed more profusely.

When it was over, she got a loud, long round of applause and cheers from those still on hand. It lasted long enough that security had to force the issue to make everyone leave. I left, went around the corner, and saw a few other people looking though this window. I stepped closer and the small crowd of us respectfully watched and kept quiet. Inside, through this plain unmarked window, you could see her gallerist and her lover or boyfriend or husband (I don’t know which) holding her in a blanket as she appeared to be weeping… joyfully.

Another time shortly after this I got to meet her, she kissed me on the cheek, it was a good moment as well.