Performance Artist Invites You to Watch Her Give Birth

Illustration for article titled Performance Artist Invites You to Watch Her Give Birth

Are paintings and plays too dull for you? Perhaps you'd rather get your art in the form of watching an actual woman give birth for real right in front of you? Now you can do just that at a gallery in Brooklyn. A pregnant performance artist named Marni Kotak is planning to give birth to her first child in front of an audience at the Microscope Gallery in Bushwick, obviously.


The performance, which is called "The Birth of Baby X," sounds kind of interesting—or horrifying, depending on how squeamish you are—but is it art? Kotak thinks it is:

"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."

She's also said, "I have decided to do this because I want to show people that, as in my previous performances, real life is the best performance art." For the record, according to the gallery some of her previous performances include, "staged re-enactments of her own birth, attending her grandfather's funeral and losing her virginity in a blue Plymouth."

We'll find out just how arty giving birth is sometime in the next five weeks, which is the expansive time frame Kotak has given as her due date. So show up any time! If you don't happen to catch Kotak in labor, you can just watch the videos she's made about her pregnancy—including one in which she "films the audience at a summer festival and projects their faces onto her belly." Hmm.

When the time finally comes to give birth, Kotak and her husband will have a midwife and doula on hand. So she'll be as safe in the gallery as she would be during any home birth—except how healthy is it to have a crowd of germy onlookers standing around? Also, what happens if something goes wrong and she has to go to the hospital? Will the baby still be a work of art? Yes, because the little boy or girl will soon be taking part in another performance piece that Kotak is calling "Raising Baby X." In it Kotak will "re-contextualize the everyday act of raising a child into a work of performance art." Okay. Sure. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that everything turns out okay in the end for Baby X.

Brooklyn Performance Artist To Give Birth Before Audience In Gallery [New York Post]


Image via KUCO/Shutterstock.


Before I even read the link, my gut reaction was: this COULD ONLY be the whimsy of a first-time mother. My goodness, how naive and foolhardy this woman is — all for the sake of performance art. If she insists on pulling this stunt, I sincerely hope all goes smoothly because I have a true soft spot for babies (so it's certainly not wishful thinking on my part). Realistically, though, does this numbnut even have a Plan B — some sort of contingency plan — if, God forbid, something goes wrong? You know, when they bring out the "garden shears" (as I call them because of first-hand experience) in order to perform an emergency episiotomy? Ms. Kotak is being terribly impetuous and self-serving, in my opinion. This film project should be titled "The Ego Has Landed (in Brooklyn).