Now, Zelensky has reportedly tapped Serbian experimental performance artist Marina
Abramović to help rebuild schools in Ukraine. "I have been invited by Zelensky to be an ambassador of Ukraine, to help the children affected by rebuilding schools and such," Abramović said.Abramović's latest show, at the Royala Academy of Arts in London features "nude gates," two naked male models, that attendees must traverse to enter the exhibit.
In an interview with the Modern Art Museum in Shanghai, she touted her accomplishment as "the first artist to support the Ukraine war against Russia and to give my voice. It is definitely a repetition of history." Abramović grew up under communism behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War.
Abramović has a storied career as a controversial performance artist. In one performance art piece, she sat for 700 hours staring at visitors who in turn stared at her. This was viewed by some 750,000. Another piece, called "Thomas Lips," saw her carving a pentagram into her stomach with a razor, which she has said was not a pentagram but a five-pointed star. She has also burned pentagrams in her work.
Her piece "Rhythm 0," which she premiered in 1974, saw Abramović stand before an audience for 6 hours and allow them to do anything they wanted to her. She offered 72 objects that they could use, from a feather to a gun. Her question for the piece was "What is the public about, and what are they going to do in this kind of situation?"
As she stood in the gallery, she allowed herself to be assaulted, cut with razor blades, her clothes cut off of her, thorns stabbed into her stomach. One person actually picked up the gun and pointed it at her head. Another person took it away. Many of her pieces have courted death.
When she was 29, she undertook a performance where she burned her body and her hair by lying in the middle of a burning star shape. "There was this one piece where I almost died lying in the burning star," she told The New York Times in 2012. "My hair was burning; I was burned everywhere. In the morning, my grandmother was in the kitchen making breakfast. She saw me and thought she saw the pure devil and threw everything on the floor and ran away."
She also held a dinner in which she had invited her friend Tony Podesta, who was the brother of John Podesta, who was running Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. She sent an email to Tony, inviting him to a "Spirit Cooking" dinner. This gained her accusations of satanism and being "part of a global paedophile ring."
The email, revealed during a leak from WikiLeaks of Podesta's hacked emails, read "Dear Tony, I am so looking forward to the Spirit Cooking dinner at my place. Do you think you will be able to let me know if your brother is joining? All my love, Marina"
InfoWars Alex Jones made the claim in 2016 that "'Spirit Cooking,' refers to 'a sacrament in the religion of Thelema,' which was founded by alleged 'satanist Aleister Crowley.'" Jones further said that "'Spirit Cooking' involves 'an occult performance during which menstrual blood, breast milk, urine, and sperm are used to create a ‘painting’.'"
Mike Cernovich wrote that "Clinton’s inner circle includes child traffickers, pedophiles, and now members of a 'sex cult,' the recent Podesta emails from Wikileaks reveals." He said further that "Spirit Cooking also includes symbolic acts of cannibalism," and offered a video that is no longer available.
"This is something I have been deeply bothered by," she told The Guardian in 2020. "I’m an artist, I’m not a satanist. They Googled me, and I am perfection to fit a conspiracy theory."
"Some may look at that video and see a piece of late-’90s performance art," Intelligencer wrote at the time. "Others, apparently, see a secret society mocking conservatives by rubbing their noses in its satanic deviance (under the guise of self-expression)."
"Marina Abramovic Spirit Cooking," on YouTube
Spirit Cooking, the Museum of Modern Art states, "was the first project Jacob Samuel produced with his portable aquatint box, working with Abramović—a performance artist with little printmaking experience—in her Amsterdam studio. The artist chose to make a cookbook,writing a series of 'aphrodisiac recipes' that serve as evocative instructions for actions or thoughts. To allow the artist to create the accompanying etchings in a manner consistent with her body-oriented practice, Samuel prepared the plates with soft ground so she could scratch directly onto the surface with her fingernails and encouraged her to work with spitbite, using her own saliva with nitric acid to paint on the plate."