Favor is fickle in the art world. Deciding on which side Marina Abramovic falls has been difficult. As of late praise for her work is often countered by harsh criticism. Abramovic is unapologetic for mainstream pursuits yet one could point to her pop culture collaborations and endorsements that have art critics questioning her as "an artist". While going head to head with Jay-Z proved positive for Solange, Marina's noggin to noggin stare down left a few scratching their heads. Regarding the fake / real bad romance with Lady Gaga . . . the jury is still out. Prior to his impromptu Broadway performance, Shia LeBeouf's #IAMSORRY, an intentional / unintentional homage to Abramovic's The Artist Is Present. LeBeouf's performance prompted the artist to do an interview distancing herself from his work. Undoubtedly knowing that favor sometimes drains from artist when the work appears too easy and accessible.
But, Abramovic, as one would expect, champions on as she has done for decades. Despite the attempts of MARFA (Marina Abramovic Retirement Fund of America) and others whom balked at her Hudson based MAI (Marina Abramovic Institute) , it thrives on land and on the internet.
And the artist herself? Abramovic is very present. She is aware millions around the world are consumed by beautiful men chasing balls and she wants her cut. Therefore, Abramovic has revived her powerful 1978 performance Work Relation for Adidas. And it works.
Abramovic tells designboom, “One similarity between performance and sport that I wanted to highlight in this video is the importance of group collaboration … When Ulay and I originally performed the piece Work Relation in 1978, the power of collective strength came through in the performance. I believe that it is important to learn from other disciplines in order to bring new life to whatever it is that you do. this is something at the heart of my institute, MAI, and something that I felt was important to convey in this video, which was itself a collaborative project.”