"We’ll be seeing her in court," says Radamas Brzginkaka, director of Elite Cultural Outreach for Adidas. He’s referring, of course, to performance art mascot Marina Abramovic, recently commissioned by the shoe brand to develop a "short film meant to convey the exuberant spirit of the World Cup and its happy, global fan base," according to a project brief. "We gave Marina essentially a blank check, because we trusted her," explains Brzginkaka. "She disappears with half a million dollars and a case of shoes, and the next thing we know she’s launched some Heaven’s Gate shit up in the woods, and all we’ve got is a black-and-white trailer that’s about as rousing as Wittgenstein read by Stephen Hawking."
The latest Abramovic corporate partnership snafu should hardly come as a surprise to anyone who has followed previous collaborations with brands like VitaCoco, Burt’s Bees, and Kimono ‘Barely There’ Condoms. In all cases, Abramovic submitted identical footage of faceless, lab coat-wearing acolytes performing mundane, time-consuming activities, like tilling a field using only their tongues, or slowly removing all of the blackened gum residue from every sidewalk in Bangor, Maine. Connections to the sponsoring company were tenuous at best. VitaCoco was later besieged by a slew of lawsuits from former Abramovic cult members, many of whom had been instructed by the performance star to self-tattoo the brand’s slogan (“It’s Like Sticking A Straw In A Coconut”) above their navels. An Abramovician commercial spot for Red Lobster, never aired, consisted of a 47-minute static shot of the artist slapping herself in the face with a mop doused in scampi sauce. Applebee’s $3.2 million payment to Abramovic netted them something even less substantial: An envelope, delivered by an albino courier, purported to contain “the residue of the artist’s exhaustion and despair.”
A beleaguered Marina Abramovic is reportedly holed up in one of Hudson, New York’s myriad “farm-to-table cheese-curd-and-olive-skin B&Bs,” weathering the storm of recent accusations that her proposed Serpentine Gallery exhibition, “The Artist Does Nothing, Which Is Something, To Some One, Maybe You,” is the product of plagiarism. A new Internet-based coalition, #WEDIDNOTHINGFIRST, has mounted a vigorous assault on what they dub “Abramovic’s shady, dishonest appropriation of the paradoxically rich discourse of nothingness.”
In a widely circulated “un-manifesto” (also known as a “notafesto,” in the group’s hermetic parlance, as well as a “womynifesto,” on certain Facebook pages), the coalition spells out their “gaping void of grievances.”
Abramovic’s “Nothing” will vomit forth in London as if nothing had truly come before this nothing, when in true point of fact many artists have been doing nothing, for a long time, without the proper plaudits or credit given by more famous artists who have chosen to do nothing. In her defense, Abramovic has claimed that she actually will do something during her Nothingness performance, which is both nonsensical and contrary to the spirit of nothingness, akin to (if you’ll forgive this paraphrasing of Plato), a vestal virgin enjoying the occasional ‘gang bang.’
#WEDIDNOTHINGFIRST cites pivotal “pioneers of nothing,” like Pierro della Castrato, a Sicilian-American performer who has consistently done “nothing at all” from 1979 to the present day, using a rent-controlled Soho apartment as his “stage of operations.” Also worthy in the coalition’s alternative canon: “Vast, sprawling chunks of Brooklyn” which—though not organized officially under a single banner—“have been proudly doing nothing in the name of art for decades, without concern for critical acclaim or financial remuneration.”
Now more than ever, your donations to #MARFA are needed to stem Marina Abramovic’s strangehold on popular culture, which some commentators have described as being akin to “a steroidally-enhanced, many-tentacled octopus slowly squeezing out all that is great and good about our contemporary world.” With Abramovic’s inclusion on Time’s 2014 list of the “100 Most Influential People,” the artist has climbed another rung on what she describes as an “effortless ascension to the lofty heights of history’s forever-bliss, including but not limited to a role as Ministress of Culture, Philosophy, And Life-Skills in the forthcoming Hillary Clinton administration.”
Abramovic’s entry in TIME’s list was written by PhD dilettante and CIndy Sherman dragqueen James Franco. “Marina most powerful is Marina most simple, Marina as Marina,” he wrote. “Is it any wonder that the word we use for ‘a place where boats gather before starting off on a long, epic journey’ is…marina? For she is the gentle cove in which I rest my dinghy, lulled by the soothing whisperwaves of her genius, steeling myself in the harbor of her heart before embarking on my own creative transgressions. I love the simple Marina, the Marina-essence, the jewel of Marina clasped inside the locket of her celebrity; she is a light not hidden under a bushel, nay!, but rather allowed to shine out among the masses, that they may see her illuminations and say, Verily, there is hope here, still.”
"Nothingness is rich, nothingness is plentitude, nothingness is the Buddha flatulating on the face of Jesus while divine grace looks on, taking notes," explained Marina Abramovic during a recent press conference regarding "500 Days Of Sum(ME)r," a durational performance due to kick-off at the Serpentine Gallery in June. Somewhat controversially, Abramovic has specified that she will "just show up" and "start being," and that in many ways "the body of Marina Abramovic is its own artwork, a sculpture called The Glory of Genius, 1946—ongoing.”
Visitors to the Serpentine will be forced to abide by certain protocols before entering the artist’s sanctum. Clothes will be removed, smartphones rendered temporarily ‘paralyzed’ by an electromagnetic forcefield. Guests will receive non-sexualized hand-baths from gallery interns wearing macrobiotic togas. Hair that is long or “excessively creative” will be shorn. “You wouldn’t just rush up to a President, or a Pope, or a Pharaoh and be all, Hey, wassup dawg, why don’t you shake my germ-ridden snothand,” clarified Serpentine curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist. “It’s about achieving a certain level of respect, and hygiene, before entering the space of Marina’s purity.”
As for what Abramovic plans to do during her tenure, she is characteristically oblique. Beyond a scheduled series of cameos from the likes of James Franco and Alan Cumming—billed as “experiential celebrity incursions,” for which the Serpentine will charge an additional $299.99 per ticket—the artist is working with a blank slate. “What is life but a series of insignificant moments, waffling along on the heart’s waves, abiding by the fickle currents of desire?” she ventured, gazing milkily into the middle distance while dragging on a Blu e-cig (a habit she picked up from Leonardo DiCaprio during their 2013 collaborative performance using found predator-mammals, There’s Literally A Wolf On Wall Street).
"I might floss my teeth. I might play Angry Birds. I might obsessively tweet 140 characters of blank space," Abramovic went on. "For several hours a day I might recline, standing, against a cool glass wall. There’s a distinct possibility that, covered in honey, I will harness my inner rage and simply tell everyone to get the fuck out of my sight. Or, for instance, if this partnership with Samsung comes through, a few days may be spent taking #SamsungSelfies for their website, using the brand new Samsung Galaxy S5, a truly astounding product that lets you capture lifelong memories in a split second, and also keep a closer eye on your personal fitness by monitoring your own heartbeat."
"Where you merely see a cute, cuddly vessel of adorableness, I see a prop for the manifestation of volcanic inner states," explains Marina Abramovic, describing her proposed project, The Artist Throws Lambs Off Mountains Like The Poet Tosses Stanzas Off His Brainshelf. Your donations in excess of $121,009.87 will finance protests against the planned 14-day global tour, during which Abramovic plans to toss a lamb off a variety of high places, including ones in Croatia’s Dinaric Alps and the Altai range in Russia. “I hoist the lamb, I feel his or her little squirmy anxieties, and these I translate into human vocalizations, the lamb-hopes and lamb-fears sublimated into keening language the way only a true artist, as in myself, is capable of,” Abramovic says. “Some have asked: Why must I throw the lamb? Why can I not simply loft the lamb, and ululate, perhaps stand there for a while, feeling cool breezes on my face, listening to the wind ruffling through the lamb’s shivering pelt? And to them I say: A lamb hoisted and not tossed is a stillborn idea, and Marina Abramovic is about the gestation of genius, for thine is the power and glory forever, amen.”
#MARFA is also working diligently—via Facebook trolling and inappropriate Instagram comments—to shame the US-based journalists who plan to attend the all-expense-paid, around-the-world junket. “It’s pretty despicable, alright,” admitted a 29-year old print editor who wished to remain nameless. “But then again, I’m fucking broke, and if I go away for two weeks it means I don’t have to pay for my food, and I can also AirBNB my apartment. Also I have to say the overall cuteness of lambs is pretty overrated.”
Your donations in excess of $12,900 will be used toward erecting a plywood “restraint barricade” around the physical corpus of Shia LeBeouf, the oft-despised young actor and 2013 graduate of the Marina Abramovic Institute. LeBeouf recently staged #IAMSORRY in Los Angeles, an interactive performance (choreographed by Abramovic) which featured him insufflating bath salts before eating a bowl of fortune cookie sayings and self-flagellating with a riding crop soaked in horse urine. “It’s about guilt, and the great orbital spaceship of reckoning,” Abramovic explained via email. The art-stunt owed a small debt to an earlier, 8-month-long James Franco performance in which the more handsome thespian publicly embraced and apologized to every college undergrad he has ever had a one-night stand with.
"These are my meat puppets," Abramovic said, speaking frankly about her mentorship of LeBeouf and Franco (and noting other actors more covertly under her tutelage, including Kevin Bacon and Paul Dano). "If I could slice their skinsuits off and wear them like pelts, I would. But there’s no need; I’m much happier up in the heavens, pulling the strings and making my little men skip and dance."
Asked if she might ever personally star in a future rendition of #IAMSORRY, Abramovic paused before spitting profusely on the floor. “Gods never apologize,” she sneered, before disappearing into the waiting maw of an S.U.V. limousine.
Your generous donations in excess of $16,901.50 will help to defund Marina Abramovic’s proposed 12-hour long interactive make-out exercise, Cold Sore Roulette (The Artist Kisses Strangers, Passionately, Without Any Sort of Barrier or Background Check). “I want to become an intimate guest invited into the warm living room of your mouth,” Abramovic writes in an open call for participants posted on Kickstarter and in Craigslist’s Casual Encounters section. “At first my tongue might make little wiggling motions, like a forlorn sea creature washed up on the shore of desperation, struggling heroically to breath,” she continues, in 72-point Helvetica font. “At other times my tongue will be more like a hot air balloon: Limp on the grassy plain, but then inflated, ready to soar to the highest reaches of your oral cavity. Other things my tongue might be like include: A still life of oranges on the kitchen counter, slightly rotten; the bucket of eels from the film adaptation of The Tin Drum; Kirsten Dunst.”
"If no one will work to stop these wars, then Marina Abramovic must stop these wars," said Marina Abramovic, referring to her proposed endurance performance The Artist Is Slapping Herself In The Face Until The Killing Ends. Slated for the Serpentine Gallery in March, the planned piece will feature Abramovic physically abusing herself every time a US or British-backed drone plane kills unarmed civilians. (Amnesty International reports that such drones kill approximately 2.5 civilians every 9 seconds, not including pets). “What will happen to my face?” Abramovic asks. “I don’t know. What happens to the face of a drone victim? I’ll tell you. It goes kablamoo. It goes kaput, sayonara, paPOOM. And I’m the only one on this brutal earth who can properly pay witness to the tragedy.”
Serpentine curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist, in the course of a 7-hour public speech regarding the project, affirmed Abramovic’s place in a pantheon of anti-war activists. He compared her favorably to Devina Malatose, the Canadian artist who worked to end the Vietnam War by eating Atomic Fireball candies for nineteen straight weeks.
"Let the government ignore me," Abramovic threatened, "and I will not cow. I will not bend, or wither, or succumb. I will keep slapping until the wars are over, even the wars we don’t know about yet." When reached for comment, Obama’s press secret Jay Carney was nonplussed. "I applaud Ms. Abramovic’s determination," he said, "but it has always been this administration’s position that we refuse to negotiate with performance artists."