Tag Archives: marina abramovic

Lame Adventure 56: Sneezing Numbers for May

Last month I had my birthday.  It was an ordinary one, not the crisis kind that reminds me that, thus far, I’ve essentially misspent my entire life from cradle to (as I inch closer) ash.  Besides, I can think that thought any day of the week, especially when I ponder how overseeing tile labeling is my current <cough> get rich slow career.

On my birthday proper, May 4th, when my UK-bound colleague, Elaine, set foot in the office at 8:54 am, I sneezed twice with hurricane force and had a light bulb.  I thought, “I wonder how many times I’m going to sneeze this entire year until my next birthday?” I also happened to have a small spiral bound memo book in my satchel, a perfect notebook to start jotting daily sneezing notes.  I call it My Book of Sneeze.

My Book of Sneeze

I also considered writing a second blog, one entirely devoted to nothing but my sneezing.  Before setting that one up, I ran this idea by Milton who opined in a voice that sounded very similar to someone who had just been force fed a tennis ball courtesy of Serena Williams following a bad call.  My close confidant gagged, “Please don’t. You don’t want to know the kind of person that would follow something like that.”  Next, I suggested just summing up my entire month of sneezing in a single post here and that met his seal of approval, followed with this reflection, “I can’t believe you’re really going to count all your sneezes for an entire year.  That’s fuckin’ crazy.”  One man’s crazy is one woman’s blog post.

My sneezing highlights and statistics for the month of May from the 4th through the 31st are as follows:

May 4th – birthday: 7 sneezes; two scoring solid 5’s on the sneeze-o-meter with 1 being a suppressed sneeze that explodes inside one’s head and 5 being delivered with such velocity that children and pets (including fish) hide.

Monday May 17th – high count sneeze day: 8 (2 at work; 6 at home).

Home: 44 sneezes

Work: 25 sneezes

Other (walking on street, while visiting friends, in a store, etc.): 14 sneezes

Subway: 4 sneezes

Volunteer Ushering (Gabriel at Atlantic Theater Company): 1 sneeze

No sneeze days: 4

Overall, I sneezed a total of 88 times during those 28 days in May for an average of 3.1428571 sneezes per day.  Onto June!

I suspect that the power of suggestion from this woman's daisy decorated headpiece, whether artificial or real, is what prompted me to sneeze twice while observing her sit opposite Marina Abramovic at MOMA on Monday, May 31st.

Lame Adventure 55: Go to MOMA, Get Arrested

Since today is Memorial Day and I do not have to be at work (yea!) I decided to log onto the Museum of Modern Art’s live feed of the final day of performance artist Marina Abramovic epically sitting in the museum’s atrium.  I figured something interesting might happen and I figured right.  Barely thirty minutes into the first hour, a svelt young Karen Finley wannabe appeared.  She approached Marina clad in what looked like a simple cotton shift, immediately lifted her dress revealing her nude body and the museum’s guards from possibly every corner and floor of the building descended instantly ending the presence of the naked woman with the artist.

See for yourself.

Marina waiting for her next guest and blowing her nose proving that allergy season affects everyone.

"What'd I do wrong?!" Hogging the spotlight?

"My job is to open my jacket in instances like this."

"You guys are so overreacting! Everyone's naked on the sixth floor!"

"Hey, look at my authority! I can open my jacket, too!"


The Abramovic endurance test sitting performance has ended.  She has achieved her goal of sitting more than 700 hours staring across at over one thousand sitters.  MOMA’s guards continued to be extra vigilant following the aforementioned stripping incident, but I only noticed one other young woman who had the potential to set them off.   She was clad in a dual purpose lavender color skeleton suit – perfect to wear when sitting across from Marina Abramovic or when scuba diving.  It might also make a good method of birth control if inclined to turn off one’s mate.  This woman seemed rather emotional and I do not think it was due to any feelings of embarrassment.

"It's laundry day, this is all I have to wear."

"Oh God, did I turn off the iron!"

A sitter nearing the end of the piece was an ersatz Marina doppelganger, but in male.  The guards hovered in the background no doubt ready to make creamed corn out of him should he attempt any funny business.  He didn’t.

"I like your style."

"Move on before we move you on."

Around 4:30 an army of guards arrived and I wondered, “Hm, is Obama gonna take a seat?”  Not quite, but this Buddhist monk, the Dalai Lama, or the Dalai Lama’s body double showed up.  He roused Marina’s attention.

After about ten minutes or so even his serene presence did not stop the guards from whispering something like, “Time’s up, pal; move on,” in his ear.

"Hey padre, gotta go."

Finally, the final sitter arrived, MOMA’s Chief Curator at Large Klaus Biesenbach arrived and Marina probably thought, “Thank you Jesus, quitting time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”  Or maybe not.

Klaus, the final sitter, and Marina.

"Marina, it's time to get up."

"Ugh. I never want to sit again."

"I hope I don't trip on this thing."

"Hey, I did it!"

"Thanks for watching. Exit through the gift shop."

Marina surrounded by the performers who recreated her performances.

The Artist is No Longer Present.