From Artinfo’s write-up of Marina Abramovic’s last day in the chair at MoMA:
At 11 a.m. on May 31, the final day of the Museum of Modern Art’s magisterial retrospective of performance artist Marina Abramovic, an extraordinary thing happened at the museum.
A young woman in a flimsy floral sundress waited on deck as the next person to sit with Abramovic. A museum security guard gave her the requisite briefing on the process – there was, for instance, an enforced ten-minute limit on sitting sessions for the show’s final day, to give more people a chance to have the experience – but she seemed only to half listen. Her hands fidgeted; she was visibly nervous. She appeared to have something up her sleeve.
In fact what she had up her sleeve was the removal of it.
This is referring, of course, to Josephine Decker, who took her clothes off after sitting down in front of Ms. Abramovic, prompting a swarm of security guards to wrap her in a black blanket and remove her from the atrium. Ms. Decker, panicked and upset by the guards’ reactions, told Gothamist in an interview that she was motivated by a desire to make herself, “for a moment, as vulnerable to [Ms. Abramovic] as she constantly makes herself to us.” Gothamist also quotes her as saying:
I thought nudity would bring joy, spontaneity! Not TEARS, CHAOS. I honestly thought that the worst that would happen was that I would be asked to put my clothes back on. I still can’t believe I was escorted out of the building by a group of guards and told that if I returned, I would be arrested. In “The Artist is Present,” the audience is a huge part of the work, and by entering that space and following the rules (sit silently, do not bring anything into the space, maintain eye contact, and the unstated one: don’t touch Marina), I expected any audience member could stay as long as he or she was willing to be present.