NEW YORK – Marni Kotak, a Brooklyn-based performance artist, will give birth in a New York art gallery — with a live audience watching.
The exhibit, entitled “The Birth of Baby X,” will chronicle the remaining weeks of Kotak’s pregnancy, culminating with the birth of her child in front of gallery visitors.
Kotak will give the birth naturally and there will be a camera showing the birth and projecting in the walls – so that everyone can get a great view.
The gallery will also be raffling off tickets and the winner – will get to cut the baby’s umbilical chord.
A release from Brooklyn’s Microscope Gallery provided a description of the exhibit, which began Saturday and will run through Nov. 7:
“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 Metropolitan Museum of Art reportedly passes on this exhibit.
“I hope that people will see that human life itself is the most profound work of art, and that therefore giving birth, the greatest expression of life, is the highest form of art,” Kotak said in an interview. “I have decided to do this because I want to show people that real life is the best performance art.”
Real life is art… hmmm.
Rumors are that the baby has been preparing for his “debut” and is preparing a special “scream” for the moment of entry into the world.
Kotak said she is no more worried than she would be if she were giving birth at home or in a hospital.
“I wouldn’t say that I am scared to do this, because I have a good support team: my midwife, doula and wonderful husband,” she said. “Of course, I am a bit nervous about the whole process of giving birth and having a child, and like every mother, I am hoping that everything goes smoothly.”
Kotak’s other work includes staging a reenactment of her own birth on her recently deceased grandmother’s bed, losing her virginity in a blue Plymouth while audience members peered inside and masturbating in front of a live audience.
Kotak said she wants her piece to capture the “raw immediacy” of real life and she hopes that gallery visitors “get the deeper meaning of the project.”
“In ‘The Birth of Baby X,’ I will be completely engrossed in the act of giving birth before a live audience. I will be focused on delivering my child into the world in the healthiest manner possible, rather than on how I look or what the audience may think,” Kotak said. “This, to me, provides for the most authentic performance art situation. And the ultimate creation of this life performance will be a living being!”
The gallery has extended its hours to accommodate the performance, and visitors can be placed on a list to be notified when Kotak goes into labor. You don’t want to miss the big moment!
Her husband, Jason Bell, who is also an artist, is supporting her in the work.
The placenta will be featured at the gallery for a year.