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Read Marina Abramovic’s Speech Calling Ai Weiwei “the Artist of the Future”

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Last night, in a ceremony at MoMA, Marina Abramovic presented the Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei — who was absent, of course — with WSJ. magazine’s first Innovator of the Year Award in the category of art. Here is the speech she gave:

So I was thinking how am I going to do this? I could see I wanted to say what he said, that somehow his words are speaking through us. First of all, I’d like to show you a picture. [Opens her jacket to reveal a t-shirt with a missing poster for Ai Weiwei, stamped "found" at the bottom.] A few days ago I went to visit in a studio of Julian Schnabel and I said to him that I am going to accept this award and he said to me I have this t-shirt — the same t-shirt that I am wearing tonight — and he told me this story of how he made this. He was in Venice and walking the streets and he saw some pieces of the poster of Ai Weiwei just lying on the floor. He took them and made his t-shirt and this was even before he was in prison and was missing. Now let’s see what Ai Weiwei is saying.

Susan Sontag said, and I think it’s really important to start with her because she’s such a free thinker, and she said, “The truth is always something that is told, not something that is known.” There are no writings or speaking that will not be truths about anything. And that’s what Ai Weiwei knew so well. That’s why the goal is so important to him. He said, “The goal provided me with the all the right tools and the space to take full advantage of my expressive potential.” He said, “Say what you need to say and then take responsibility for it, or speak when you get the chance. Don’t waste your limited space saying something meaningless.” Then he said, “I think that every person must do something for others. This is the only way this world will see any change. I think restrictions are essential conditions in the fight from freedom for expression.”

I really relate to him so much because, you know, coming from ex-Yugoslavia, in our country, we had to ask three years in advance to the government to make spontaneous demonstrations. I mean, three years in advance for spontaneous demonstrations. You know, it was for the political job — you can go up to four years in  prison. If two people are talking on the street, this is a dialogue. If three people are on the street, this is a protest. So, he said, which is an interesting distinction to make here, he said, “There’s so many things that are wrong with our society no matter if you are a musician or an artist or writer. I believe there’s no such thing as the best circumstances and therefore I say that we all have our complaints but this cannot become your excuse. The desert grows its own kind of grass and tropical plants only grow in the rainforest. So discussing our circumstances and complaining about them is pointless. Any environment is still your environment and everyone is his own or her own unique situation, people who cannot adapt to different circumstances should be left on their own devices.”

“What I’m saying is,” he said, “if one metal proves useless, create another. If you are not equipped with the practility, you are a loser and you deserve your fate. People who believe they are standing in the worst of places truly have a problem because, actually, everyone is standing on equal ground.” So to the government, the Chinese, he said, “Reject cynicism, reject corporation, reject fear, and reject tea drinking. There is nothing to discuss. It’s the same old same. Don’t come looking for me again. I will not cooperate. If you must come, bring your instruments of torture with you.”

So Ai Weiwei is the model of an artist, he’s the artist of the future, using technology to invent a different innovating way of communication in a time of restrictions and limitations.  This is why I’d like to conclude with his own words: “I spent most of my effort liberating myself from being an artist to become a real human being.”

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  1. LMAO. Marinovich a real human being? She is a self created cariacature, of the wannabe artiste. No one outside the inbred artscene cares, she is just an exhibitionist to 99% and deadly dull at that, a one tric pony that is no where cute enough to ride except to other homelys.

    This sounds like the kiss of death, from one frontin irrelevant to another. People would get behind her and him if they had real issues of human concern to relate too, but they dont. Its therapy. got enough weirdos as is.

    art collegia delenda est

  2. “No one cares” about Marina? How about a half-million MOMA attendees?

  3. Um, that was to see Batman, not sit adn do nothing nwoman. Onlya rt students went to see her, stand in line, get photos of themselvs and take themselves but not their art far to seriously.

  4. Mr.Frazell, you should know her name is NOT Marinovich, if you want to criticize. About her MOMA exhibition – if you think that there was half-million art students, than that is really good news for America! To have half-million art students willing to see “do nothing woman”, it is great success for a nation!

  5. Todd is boring, and those stopped because of her silly exhibitionism and chance to have photos taken, it is all about appearance, and vanity. Only her media needy fans showed up for her, the rest where there for Batman, not vampiress.

  6. by D.B. Valentine

    Wow Donald Frazell really has some serious issues with Abramovic. Either he just doesn’t get it or he’s a frustrated/failed artists himself I reckon.

  7. I have to agree with DB. For someone whose never had an art exhibition he sure had a lot to say. Unfortunately he he can’t hide his frustration with this fact. Every comment is loaded with jealousy and hate. Lets see some credentials to back up all this hot air.

  8. You’ve really capetrud all the essentials in this subject area, haven’t you?

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