The Birth of Baby X
Actual live birth as performance art
October 8 – November 7, 2011
Opening Reception Saturday October 8, 6-9PM
MICROSCOPE Gallery presents The Birth of Baby X, a month-long performance and installation by Bushwick artist Marni Kotak culminating in the birth of her first child at the gallery. With The Birth of Baby X Kotak continues to present her life experiences as works of art, works in which she strives to avoid the spectacle often involved in performance art to reach what is real. Influenced by the performances of Hannah Wilke, Chris Burden, Vito Acconci, Marina Abramovic, and Carolee Schneemann that push the limits of the human body experience, Kotak seeks to create works of raw immediacy. The Birth of Baby X will be her most profound and physically challenging performance.
Beginning October 8, Kotak will transform Microscope into her home birthing room, complete with her grandmother’s bed, and her old rocking chair. The exhibit has been orchestrated around Kotak’s official due date. Visitors should be prepared to find themselves suddenly as witnesses to a live birth.
During the month, Kotak will often be present in the gallery preparing mentally and physically for the event, which will be assisted by a mid-wife and doula. The exhibit also includes videos of related performances—including “You are My Baby”, performed at Lumen Festival this summer, in which Kotak videotaped the audience and projected their faces onto her belly; sculptures and other objects; and personal artworks by Kotak’s husband and artist Jason Robert Bell. Remnants from the final days of pregnancy and the birth will be added to the exhibition as it progresses.
The exhibit also launches Kotak’s new conceptual work Raising Baby X in which she re-contextualizes the everyday act of raising a child into a work of performance art, reaching out to collectors, private investors and foundations for their support. More info at: FRACTURED ATLAS
Please Note: for the exhibit, Microscope will extend our regular hours to 7 days a week from 11am-6pm until the birth has occurred.
Marni Kotak is a Brooklyn-based performance artist who makes multimedia works in which she presents her everyday life as art. These “Found Performances”, or works based on daily activities, experiences, or accomplishments, include staged re-enactments of her own birth (My Birth, 2011, Alice Chilton Gallery), attending her grandfather’s funeral (2009, English Kills) and losing her virginity in a blue Plymouth (Fountain Art Fair Miami 2010). Although her works often contain humor and deal with the absurdity of life situations, Kotak considers her work in the cultural context of artworks now being referred to as “post-ironic” in that it expresses an authentic sincerity about her real, everyday life experience.
Kotak’s work has been featured in PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, the New York Times, the Village Voice, NY Arts, New York Press, Art New England, The Brooklyn Rail and more. She has performed and/or exhibited at Alice Chilton Gallery, Artists Space, NY Studio Gallery, Cave Gallery, Fountain Art Fair (Miami & NYC), Holland Tunnel, English Kills Art Gallery, Grace Exhibition Space, Open Realization Contemporary Art Center in Beijing, PERFORMA, and others. She received a BA from Bard College and an MFA from Brooklyn College.
Installation view w/ artist, courtesy of Marni Kotak & Microscope © 2011