For the second entry in the New York Times’s series of online philosophy discussions, our friend Arthur Danto has posted an article about the MoMA’s ongoing display of veteran performance artist Marina Abramovic.
It describes this odd piece of performance art, wherein Marina sits on a chair in the museum with an empty chair across from her, and patrons can sit for as long as they want in the chair (one at a time, of course, leading to very long lines) and just sit with the artist, not talking, and this is apparently a potentially religious experience.
The piece is as usual beautifully described by Danto (don’t just go with my flippant description here), such that, like the avant garde works we discussed in our Danto episode, you get the conceptual point of the piece without having to actually be there; your imagination is likely better than the thing itself, I guess, given the posters’ complaints about the noise and crowds and all.
The respondents on the NY Times site are of course divided, and many are entirely dismissive of the piece described. Moreover, there’s some of bitching there about how Danto’s article is really not philosophy, and consequently the NY Times people in choosing him are doing philosophy a disservice. Well, I actually did post a response to that, though it should sound familiar already to those who listened to our episode.