Hirshhorn Presents 2011 James T. Demetrion Lecture

Guest Marina Abramović Discusses How Performance Art Is Entering the History of Art
March 10, 2011
News Release

The Hirshhorn Museum will present performance-art pioneer Marina Abramović (Yugoslav, b. 1946) for this year’s James T. Demetrion Lecture April 5 at 7 p.m. Since 2004, the museum has hosted this annual lecture dedicated to providing Hirshhorn audiences with a special opportunity to engage with major contemporary art figures. Abramović, riding a wave of critical and public acclaim since her groundbreaking retrospective at MoMA, travels to Washington to discuss issues surrounding the historicization and continued growth of performance art. Among them: How is performance art preserved? Can it be re-performed? Can it be taught and how? Who is performing now and why? At a time when the medium is becoming increasingly part of mainstream culture, this topic fuels dynamic discussion.

In anticipation of the lecture, the Hirshhorn is offering the public several opportunities to consider Abramović’s work in relation to contemporary ideas about performance art. “Light/Dark” (1977), a video of a performance by Abramović and her former collaborator Ulay, is on view on the museum’s third level. The work, which features the two artists kneeling face to face, alternately slapping each other until one stops, serves as the starting point for two upcoming programs in our weekly lunchtime series, Friday Gallery Talks. On March 18 at 12:30 p.m., New York-based performance and video artist Blithe Riley focuses on the role of film and video in presenting and representing performance art. The Hirshhorn’s Director of Public Programs Milena Kalinovska shares her thoughts on Abramović’s work April 1 at 12:30 p.m.

The Hirshhorn is hosting a live question-and-answer session on Twitter with Abramović March 22 from 3:30 to 4 p.m. Questions will be accepted and answered in real-time by the artist, engaging audiences beyond the Washington, D.C. area, at www.twitter.com/hirshhorn.

Tickets for the lecture will be available by advance registration only. Beginning March 23, one ticket per person can be reserved via Eventbrite until all seats are filled. The lecture will also be webcast live. For more information about ticketing and viewing the webcast, the public may visit hirshhorn.si.edu.

 The annual Demetrion Lecture is made possible by the Friends of Jim and Barbara Demetrion Endowment Fund.

About the Hirshhorn

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Smithsonian Institution’s museum of international modern and contemporary art, has nearly 12,000 paintings, sculptures, photographs, mixed-media installations, works on paper and new media works in its collection. The Hirshhorn presents diverse exhibitions and offers an array of public programs that explore the art of our time. Located at Independence Avenue and Seventh Street S.W., the museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (except Dec. 25). Admission to the galleries and special programs is free. For more information about exhibitions and events, please visit hirshhorn.si.edu. To request accessibility services, please contact Kristy Maruca at marucak@si.edu or (202) 633-2796, preferably two weeks in advance.

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