Marina Abramovic’s retrospective at MoMA in 2010, “The Artist Is Present,” drew a record 800,000 visitors. As she often does, Ms. Abramovic used herself in her work, sitting silently in the MoMA’s atrium six days a week for two and a half months as people lined up to sit down across from her and stare into her expressionless face. The retrospective (and HBO’s documentary of the same title) gave a capsule of her 40 years as “the grandmother of performance art,” as she calls herself. Ms. Abramovic’s performances have shocked and provoked audiences and critics into redefining such elemental matters as art, artist and the relation of the artist to the audience. In creating and continually exploring the boundaries of performance art, she has stabbed herself with knives, lain naked, invited audiences to abuse her body and played with fire. At the MoMA retrospective two years ago, Lady Gaga, who showed up, helped spur the interest of a new generation of Abramovic fans and followers—a phenomenon that itself suggests life imitating (performance) art.