On My Radar: Marina Abramović’s Cultural Highlights | Marina Abramović

Jhe performance art pioneer Marina Abramović was born in 1946 in Belgrade, Serbia (then Yugoslavia). She moved to Amsterdam in 1975, where she began collaborating with Frank Uwe Laysiepen (Ulay) on works such as Imponderable (1977). In 1997, she won the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale and in 2010, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York organized the retrospective The Artist Is Present. His latest work, The hero, hits screens around the world until August 31. The public currency for its first NFT, The 25FPS Herowill take place at 14:00 UTC on July 25.

1. Exhibition

Tomás Saraceno: Special topic(s) at the Shed, New York

“Interactive and innovative”: Webs of At-tent(s)-ion by Tomás Saraceno, presented in his exhibition Particular Matter(s). Photography: Courtesy of the artist; spiderweb; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York/Los Angeles; and Neugerriemschneider, Berlin.

Saraceno works with spiders and made these huge glass cages where the spiders were placed inside and created different types of webs. It really had to do with the planet and the human condition, etc. It was a fascinating show that took months and months to put together because it started with the empty glass cubes and the spiders must have created the artwork. It was interactive and innovative – I really liked it.

2. Gig

Sigur Ros

Sigur Rós at the Beacon Theatre, New York, June 2022.
“Tornado of Energy”: Sigur Rós at the Beacon Theatre, New York, June 2022. Photography: Mark Martucci

The last gig I saw was Sigur Rós from Iceland. I followed them for a long time and it was one of the few concerts they gave in New York at the Beacon theatre. What’s so interesting about the lead singer, Jónsi, is that he invented his own language. The performance started very slowly. Jónsi went into a trance and created this kind of energy vortex – a tornado of volcanic energy – that the audience was a part of and couldn’t escape. It had a really frenetic quality that I loved.

3. Arts

NFT

Nadya Tolokonnikova speaks about activism in the era of cryptocurrency at Consensus 2022 in Austin, Texas, June 2022.
Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova speaks about activism in the era of cryptocurrency at Consensus 2022 in Austin, Texas, June 2022. Photography: Rex/Shutterstock

For me right now, NFTs are something very important. The work that Nadya Tolokonnikova [of Pussy Riot] made with Unicorn CAD – a decentralized and autonomous organization that markets NFTs from female, non-binary and LGBTQ+ artists – inspires me a lot. They raised $6.7 million for Ukraine earlier this year and recently launched legallabortion.etha wallet where people can donate crypto that will be fully distributed to seven reproductive rights organizations following the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade reversal.

4. Theater

The Orchard at Baryshnikov Arts Center, New York

Mikhail Baryshnikov in The Orchard.
“Incredible”: Mikhail Baryshnikov in The Orchard in New York. Photography: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Last month I saw The orchard, directed by Igor Golyak. This radical hybrid production was a new interpretation of The cherry orchard by Chekhov, and audiences could choose between watching a theater performance in person or a digital play at home. I thought that was very inspiring. Baryshnikov himself was cast in the lead role and did an amazing job. Normally dancers don’t play characters in Chekhov, and this really caught my attention. This very modern approach has given a whole new life to a classic piece.

5. Practice

Astrology

The full moon over Marseille last, which was the brightest of the year.
The full moon over Marseille last week, which was the brightest of the year. Photography: Gerard Bottino/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock

I have loved numerology and astrology for a long time. There’s a lot of bullshit out there, but I was lucky to find the right people. There are some in India who are very accurate in reading the stars, so in fact they can predict things with extreme accuracy. I have a friend in Vienna called Nada Vondrianna, and in November she predicted what is happening in Ukraine right now. If I want to do something important – works or exhibitions – I will always consult her: where are the stars? Is it a full moon or not a full moon?

6. Restoration

Omen Azen, New York

Omen Azen, New York.
“Run for generations by the same family”: Omen Azen, New York. Photography: Omen Azen

It was the first Japanese restaurant in SoHo, Manhattan in the 80’s. It has been run by the same family for generations. The food is always the same and there is no loud music for you to talk. The setting is unchanging and it was where Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Andy Warhol, the Velvet Underground, all those people went. And those people – those who are still alive – always arrive. It’s not a superficial place and it’s one of my favorites.

The cover of Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

7. Book

Giving Happiness by Tony Hsieh (2010)

It’s about Tony Hsieh’s company Zappos (which produces shoes) and its philosophy: how workers must be happy to really bring happiness to the whole world. Two years ago he died a tragic death in his own house – he would have taken too many drugs – so it’s quite amazing to read this knowing that he couldn’t use his own theory to change his own life. It’s very interesting to see how we can create a system that can make other people happy.

James C. Tibbs