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The Rachel Report

Smells like Marina spirit

Abramovic’s show in 2020 at London’s Royal Academy of Arts will mark the first time a woman has been the subject of a retrospective at the prestigious institution

Marina Abramovic with Stephen Fry at the Royal Academy of Arts’ gala in New York Angela Pham/BFA.com

Marina Abramovic’s show in 2020 at London’s Royal Academy of Arts will mark the first time a woman has been the subject of a retrospective at the prestigious institution. “That took 258 years,” she said during this year’s Royal Academy America 2017 Gala, which honoured the performance art legend in New York, along with designer Thomas Heatherwick and the arts patron Aryeh Bourkoff. “I’m relieved the Royal Academy has opened the doors for me so I don’t need to walk through the walls,” she added, referring to the title of her new memoir, Walk Through Walls. “The scent of testosterone that lingers in the hallways will be aired out and what will remain is the energy of art without gender.” “You heard her,” said the English entertainer Stephen Fry, the evening’s MC. “Burlington House”—the Mayfair mansion that houses the Royal Academy in London—“will now be called Gurlington House, and the smell of oestrogen will be flowing through the halls.” Sounds like Abramovic may have managed to reinvent the body-as-medium one more time.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper, 295 November 2017