LADY GAGA: The Abramovic Method

This is pretty rad. It’s not a song, it’s performance art. If that term scares you, perhaps it should. This is challenging stuff. But any artist of Gaga’s stature that is challenging her audience instead of pandering to it has our vote. Warning to anyone offended by the human body, there is some mild nudity. Digging her new au naturel look — like she stepped off the label on a bottle of Chestnut Mare hair dye from the 70’s.

HUFFINGTON POST: Lady Gaga is readying “ARTPOP,” her first album in two years, so it makes sense that she’d be in the mood for some recalibrating. And when you’re Lady Gaga, you don’t just hit up your local yoga class or tea joint, you stop by Marina Abramovic’s institute, the Marina Abramovic Institute. (Non-art fans, you’ll recognize her from Jay Z’s “Picasso Baby” music video performance art piece, which she inspired and appears in.) MORE

DAILY BEAST: But now Lady Gaga has gone, in the words of Jay Z, all kinds of H.A.M.—getting naked and engaging in “The Abramovic Method,” which describes itself as “a series of exercises designed to heighten participants’ awareness of their physical and mental experience in the present moment.” In the video, Gaga can be seen posing naked in a forest, pressing crystals against her naked body, and yelling. Gaga partook in “The Abramovic Method” under the instruction of Abramovic herself during a three-day retreat at the Marina Abramovic Institute in upstate New York. The institute describes itself as “the first space dedicated to practicing the Abramovic method, which prepares participants to both perform and observe long durational work.”

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Lady Gaga is a big fan of Marina Abramovic, and vice versa. The two outré personalities — the former from the pop-music world, the latter from the realm of performance art — have sung each others’ praises  about their shared taste for provocative visual statements. On Saturday, Lady Gaga teamed up with the artist by lending her time and speaking voice to a marathon reading of the sci-fi novel “Solaris” that took place at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn. The reading lasted eight hours — the book is a little more than 200 pages long — and featured Lady Gaga reciting a section of the Stanislaw Lem novel via video. The event was a benefit for the Marina Abramovic Institute, which is planning to build a performance art and performing arts center in upstate New York. MORE

RELATED: Marina Abramovi? (Serbian Cyrillic: ?????? ?????????, Serbo-Croatian pronunciation: [mar??na abr??mo?it?]; born November 30, 1946 in Belgrade, Serbia) is a New York-based Serbian performance artist who began her career in the early 1970s. Active for over three decades, she has recently begun to describe herself as the “grandmother of performance art.” Abramovi?’s work explores the relationship between performer and audience, the limits of the body, and the possibilities of the mind. MORE

THE GUARDIAN: In the 1970s she collaborated with the artist Ulay who was also her lover. Their personal and working relationship ended with a performance on the Great Wall of China that culminated in a last hug. So one Reddit question was: how did that last hug feel? Here is her answer:

“One of the most painful moments of my life. I knew this is over, I knew it was the end of a very important period of my life. I just remember I could not stop crying.”

It’s an answer that says more about Abramovic than a pile of textbooks on contemporary art might express. This is what she does. She makes art that is directly emotional, in which her entire being is at risk: her work with Ulay was a massive part of her career, so when their relationship ended they risked shattering their artistic legacy as well as their lives. She tells another questioner why artists should never fall in love with artists: “I have done this three times, and each time I had the heart broke …” Abramovic is asked what it felt like when Ulay came to her 2010 performance The Artist Is Present at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City: “Entire life of our 12 years together went like a fast forward film …” You can see this moment on video. In her MoMA performance, Abramovic simply sat there for 700 hours and people were invited to sit opposite her, looking into her eyes. Most of them ended up crying. MORE