This was a few weeks ago at the Dia Beacon Benefit.
The Michael Heizer sculpture, the most powerful and impressive piece one might see in an indoor art space, was open to the Art patrons so they could walk around the vertiginous holes. Physical confrontation with the geometric void was in fact so overwhelming that even the most self assured Art experts and trustees would only bend over in the most overcautiously manner, fearing loss of glasses, cellphones, or dignity (by having to be winched from the depth of Art by a crane).
When all the guests were finally safely gathered in the John Chamberlain room, Dia director Philippe Vergne announced that, as a surprise and special treat, Trisha Brown had decided that she will perform a dance piece herself.
She silently came out barefoot, and very slowly became to animate parts of her body at the contact of the other dancers. It started out in very light and delicate touches of fingers and palms. The graceful fragility of hands, wrists, and necks made for a moving contrast with the heavy metal, brutally bent and hammered car parts Chamberlain sculpture which stands next to the soft flexible bodies of the dancers.
A sartorial note : it was hard to figure out a dress code for this kind of event, when everyone has to get noticed while blending in the Art world. For men, the formal outfits were most commonly pastel cashmere tight cardigans, as if dressed for a picnic, while a few individuals met the occasion with bolder statements.
A rival hipster, Kenneth Goldsmith, made it on to several blogs wearing a paisley Thom Browne suit.
I did my best to sit in front of the artist with the appropriate seriousness.
But when she lifted up her eyes, Marina didn’t seem particularly enthusiastic.
I felt like a forgotten lump of clay on a sculpture stand, half dry, and not very enticing, so that after a little consideration the artist finally decides not to use it.
I felt like another mile in the endless journey of a truck driver.
I thought of Marina’s performance as a living illustration of the philosophical concept of how Art looks back at us.
Was Marina hypnotizing me ? I became incredibly relaxed and felt a tremendous urge to sleep.
Images of the full MOMA collections were flying by in my head, along with highlights from the Prado and never-shown pieces from the Louvre reserve.
I watched black and white 16mm footage of early seventies performances, when girls in the audience wore printed miniskirt, and men with wide ties on fitted white shirts, spectacles and long beards, similar to those of today, but with outstanding genuineness.
I was woken up by a nightmarish vision of Marina’s « Dragon Heads », a series of pieces where she had big snakes all around her face.
How long had I slept ? Many of the visitors were in awe.
Walking out, I passed in front of a group of people who seemed offended. In doubt, I apologized for possibly snoring.