Marathon MoMA Exhibition Featuring Nude Performers Ends With Tears, Vomit

By Patrick Hedlund on May 31, 2010 11:07am | Updated on June 1, 2010 6:31am

By Patrick Hedlund

DNAinfo News Editor

MANHATTAN — A popular and, at times, controversial exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art featuring nude performers ended its two-and-a-half-month run Monday with some impromptu performances from patrons.

Visitors to Marina Abramovic’s retrospective “The Artist is Present,” which spans more than four decades of her work, inexplicably vomited and tried to get naked on the show's final day, a museum spokesperson said.

"There was one visitor who attempted to take her dress off, and she was escorted from the museum," the spokesperson said. "And there was a visitor who apparently vomited in the atrium."

The exhibition — which has drawn more than half a million visitors since it opened on March 14, the New York Times reported — allows visitors to sit across from the artist and stare at her for as long as they like.

"[A] sitter tried to disrobe around 11am and was swarmed by security, and then seen crying and begging to sit with her," wrote Twitter user kheshire.

Another visitor apparently forced vomit by sticking his finger down his throat, Gawker reported.

"I suspect the idea that extreme behaviors might be triggered by her work is something #Abramovic understands," tweeted user parallelarts. "Inherent in work of extremes."

Other accounts on Twitter had the artist both crying and laughing throughout the day as a steady stream of visitors continued participate in a "very busy [day] here at the museum," the MoMA spokesperson added.

Abramovic has sat near motionless for seven hours a day, six days per week, the Times noted, making it the longest piece of performance art in history.

When the artist closed her show Monday at 5 p.m., she logged 700 hours sitting in the same place inside MoMA’s atrium, the Times added.

Some well-known names, including Lou Reed, Isabella Rossellini and Rufus Wainwright, sat across from Abramovic, as well as regular visitors who were captured on the museum’s photo log.

The exhibition also gained notoriety for its use of nude performers — a first for the museum — including two who stood across from each other in a passageway that visitors had to pass through to get to another portion of the show.

The performers made headlines when they complained of being groped by some museum-goers, MoMA stated last month.

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