It's a question only art-world scholars (and maybe their lawyers) could dream up. Can an artist be accused of stealing "nothing"?
Marina Abramovic, the famed performance artist, has landed in hot water this week over claims that her new installation "512 Hours" at London's Serpentine Gallery -- during which she is expected to do "nothing" -- doesn't properly acknowledge the work of another artist.
As reported by Britain's the Guardian, a letter sent to the Serpentine by a group of historians and curators accuses Abramovic of failing to acknowledge the influence of Mary Ellen Carroll's "Nothing," an ongoing project which features the latter artist addressing the concept of "nothing" through various media, including video and print.
The letter, which was reportedly sent to the Serpentine's curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, stated that the failure to cite Carroll's influence would be detrimental to Carroll's ability to perform "Nothing" in the future. The letter's signatories include several U.S.-based art experts, including David Joselit, a professor at the
Joselit told the Guardian that it was important for Abramovic to "acknowledge this genealogy," adding that while the the works were different, both addressed "the question of nothing. Doing nothing."
However, Joselit stopped short of accusing Abramovic of plagiarism. "I am not prepared to say Marina Abramovic is involved in plagiarising or anything like that," he told the Guardian.
Obrist told the Guardian that a conversation has been arranged between Abramovic and Carroll.