The artist-performer sued for harassment at the exhibition of Maryna Abramovych

The artist-performer sued for harassment at the exhibition of Maryna Abramovych


Artist John Bonafedewho participated as a nude performer in the exhibition “Marina Abramovich: The artist is present” (The Artist is Present) in 2010, sued the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA). He accuses the institution of not being able to prevent sexual harassment of him by museum visitors.

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This was reported by the publication Artnet.

According to Bonafede, a New York artist and performer: “The museum was in fact aware of the sexual harassment of many of its performing staff … but willfully and negligently failed to take corrective action to prevent such assaults from happening again“.

Some female performers said that they were groped during Marina Abramovich’s exhibition. Other participants claimed that they were “pushed and poked with fingers.” At the time, the museum told the Post that it was aware of such cases, and MoMA security escorted violators from the premises.

John Bonafede during the performance. Photo: Will Ragozzino/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Bonafede’s lawsuit concerns a performance of Imponderabilia. During it, visitors have to squeeze between two naked performers and in the process are forced to touch their bodies. Marina Abramovych and her partner Ulay performed this production for the first time. Since then, the performance has been repeatedly repeated by other artists within the framework of the exhibition.

John Bonafede was able to file a complaint against the museum thanks to the implementation of a law in New York that allows adult victims to sue against sexual assault, regardless of when it happened.

The artist claims that the harassment he suffered caused “years of emotional suffering and caused significant damage to his mental health, body, image and career“.

He is now seeking damages, punitive damages, attorney’s fees and other remedies to be determined by the court.

About Marina Abramovich’s exhibition at MoMA

The exhibition “Marina Abramovych: The Artist is Present” became the first retrospective of performance art at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It took place in 2010.

It involved 38 artists who took turns changing each other eight times for two hours in different parts of the exposition: lying under a skeleton, standing facing each other in a doorway or entering into other performances at the exhibition.

Aiming to convey the artist’s presence and make her historic performances accessible to a wider audience, the exhibition includes the first live re-performances of Abramovich’s works by other people ever held in a museum setting“, it is written in the description of the performance.

Maryna Abramovych Serbian artist-performer. In her works, she explores human problems and fears, such as the fear of pain or death. In addition, she often interacts with the viewer and develops the relationship between the artist and the audience, the limits of the body and the possibilities of the mind.

In each of her works, she demonstrates the capabilities of the human body, and most of her performances require physical and psychological endurance. Therefore, Abramovich does not always take part in his own performances due to age and health and prepares selected people for them.

Read also: From a state of security to a state of struggle. How to (not) interact with Russian artists as a Ukrainian artist



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