Awkward Moments?

%26nbsp;%26nbsp;%26nbsp;%26nbsp;%26nbsp;%26nbsp; Marina Abramović may be best known to the general public as the inspiration behind the performance art Carrie Bradshaw views in a "Sex and the City" episode, in which an artist lives in three boxes: sleeping, sitting, and showering while consuming nothing but water for twelve days. This original performance piece, The House With the Ocean View, is part of "The Artist Is Present," a retrospective of Abramović's work currently on view at New York's MoMA (through May 31).

The show encapsulates four decades of her work, and is organized by Klaus Biesenbach, MoMA's chief curator at large and director of P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, and already has, and will most surely continue to be, lauded, if for nothing else, than attracting masses of people to the museum.

But then again who wouldn't be drawn to a blockbuster that boasts the artist herself seated at a table in the middle of the museum's atrium for the duration of the exhibition's 700 hours, while viewers are invited to sit opposite her and stare into her eyes. Even more provocative is Imponderabilia (1997/2010), a piece comprised of two naked people facing each other at the show's threshold (which is not all that large).

Among the other works in the show are: Nude with Skeleton (2002 %26#8211;%26#8211; 2005/2010), featuring a person lying sans clothes on a wall shelf while a skeleton rests upon their body; Relations in Time (1977/2010), with two clothed figures standing back to back with their hair braided together in a display case; and Points of Contact (1980/2010), starring a pair dressed in black who point and stare at one another (to see images of these click "launch slideshow") . Also recreated for the show is her 1997 work Luminosity in which a naked women sits legs spread apart on a bicycle seat that is mounted to a wall. Are you blushing yet?

All this may appear hokey, melodramatic and a bit narcissistic, but it is without question shockingly noteworthy. Not every artist has the gall to attempt such feats, which seek to reproduce the metaphysical interchange existing between artist and viewer, then explore its meaning. The effects of the examination are such that the viewer becomes more aware of the broader concept of "gaze," and the power it holds over its object, which is nothing short of exceptional. I almost forgot %26#8211;%26#8211; mind the nudes!

"Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present," through May 31; Shown, detail: Marina Abramović Nude With Skeleton, 2002 %26#8211;%26#8211; 2005, re-performed continually in shifts for the duration of "Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present," through May 31 at MoMA.

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