Advertisement: Click here to learn how to Generate Art From Text
Editor’s Note:The following article contains references to sexual harassment and assault. To reach the National Sexual Assault Hotline call 1-800-656-4673, or visit online.rainn.org.
An artist who performed nude during Marina Abramović’s 2010 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in Manhattan is suing The museum claimed that staff members did not adequately protect the performer from multiple sexual assaults. John Bonafede, who performed in Abramović’s “Imponderabilia” (1977/2010), claims that he was subjected to multiple instances of nonconsensual groping by patrons and that MoMA “failed to take corrective action” to protect the performers and to “prevent further sexual assaults from occurring.”
Hyperallergic has contacted MoMA, Marina Abramović, and Bonafede’s attorney for comment.
For “Imponderabilia,” Bonafede and a female performer were required to stand across from each other, nude and completely motionless with locked gazes, at the threshold of a narrow passageway that museum visitors were encouraged to pass through to traverse between the sixth-floor museum galleries. Throughout his involvement in the performance work, Bonafede alleges that he endured seven instances of museum visitors, whom he specified were all “older males,” groping or intentionally grazing his genitals and that he witnessed his female counterpart being assaulted as well. The female performer was not named as a plaintiff.
Bonafede stated that he and other performance artists hired for the exhibition were preparing to perform at the opening of the exhibition. Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present (2010) retrospective attended a preparatory retreat at Abramović’s Upstate New York residence. During the retreat, Bonafede expressed that present MoMA staff and Abramović herself instilled a “tough it out” culture when communicating the potential for attendee transgressions against performers, with Abramović citing examples of being assaulted during her own endurance performances throughout her career.
Bonafede recalled that he didn’t report the first incident of sexual misconduct he experienced at the beginning of the exhibition, stating that he opted to keep his head down after one performer allegedly Their contract was terminated after the first night of the retrospective because they could not remain motionless.
According to the lawsuit, he did report four incidents. Another was reported by an MoMA security guard, who saw the assault on Bonafede live.
The assaults against the performers of the exhibition were well documented and widely covered by a wide variety of major media outlets. News The retrospective was a continuous process. The museum publicly acknowledged that it was “well aware of the challenges posed by having nude performers in the galleries,” and soon developed a codified signaling system for performers to rely on if they felt unsafe or threatened by attendees during the show.
Bonafede claims that, while the museum visitors who assaulted his were immediately ejected and that a corporate member of one of them had his membership revoked; the museum did, however, not provide him their identities.
Bonafede’s suit was filed in accordance with the New York Adult Survivors ActThis removed the statutes of limitations on sexual assault lawsuits for an entire year, from November 20,22 to November 20,23.