Opinion Brief

Live birth... as performance art?

A Brooklyn artist invites spectators to observe her baby's arrival. But does giving birth in a gallery make it art?

A pregnant New York City performance artist has arranged to have her baby in an art gallery, while an audience watches. The artist, Marni Kotak, plans to spend every day over the next six weeks at the Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn — which has been transformed into a "birthing room," complete with inflatable birthing tub — until the baby comes. Kotak, who will be attended by a midwife and doula, says the performance, "The Birth of Baby X," will show that "giving birth, the greatest expression of life, is the highest form of art." Is childbirth really art?

This is child abuse, not art: Kotak should be ashamed of the way she's putting her artistic vision ahead of the health and safety of her baby, says L.S. Carbonell at Lez Get Real. Baby X deserves to be born into a warm, safe place, not a public environment full of germs, and the midwife and doula "should have their licenses revoked" for enabling this "self-centered" jerk. "This is as much a case of child abuse as beating a kid with a stick."
"Childbirth as performance art"

Performance art is all about pushing boundaries: Physical feats and the sharing of intimate body functions are central to the history of performance art, says Ceridwren Morris at Babble. "Artists have slept, stared, stood still... there's been plenty of nudity, blood and sweat. Chris Burden shot his own arm in a flesh-ripping, seminal piece." The visceral act of giving birth in a gallery "fits in with this particular trajectory."
"Performance artist will give birth in Bushwick art gallery"

But what about the poor kid? "You know things are going to get interesting when performance artists get pregnant," says Jen Carlson at Gothamist. Even if you're a bit squeamish, "we urge you to go" — if not out of respect for Kotak's art, at least to "donate money for this child's future therapy."
"Pregnant lady sets up public birthing station in Bushwick art gallery"

Recommended

6 outstanding homes built in the 1940s
House
Feature

6 outstanding homes built in the 1940s

The Check-In: 2022's best and worst airports, and more
Airplanes.
Feature

The Check-In: 2022's best and worst airports, and more

The Week contest: Walker robber
A man with a walker.
Feature

The Week contest: Walker robber

Is plant-based meat a failure?
A plantburger.
Briefing

Is plant-based meat a failure?

Most Popular

Once-a-decade critics' poll names greatest film ever
Movie theater
we come to this place for magic

Once-a-decade critics' poll names greatest film ever

Home of Iranian climber who competed without hijab reportedly destroyed
Rekabi in interview
Iran protests

Home of Iranian climber who competed without hijab reportedly destroyed

Houston police arrest 2 in connection with killing of Migos rapper Takeoff
Migos rapper Takeoff memorial billboard
'an innocent bystander'

Houston police arrest 2 in connection with killing of Migos rapper Takeoff