The Art Scene: 12.12.13

Local art news
Marina Abramovic is the subject of a documentary to be screened at the Watermill Center on Saturday.

New at Halsey Mckay
    An installation by Kysa Johnson and paintings by Annabelle Speer will go on view Saturday at the Halsey Mckay Gallery in East Hampton. Ms. Johnson’s paintings, drawings, and installations utilize as imagery what she terms “microscopic or macroscopic ‘landscapes,’ ” including maps of the universe and the molecular structure of pollutants.

    The installation, which will take over the entire ground floor of the gallery, uses subatomic decay patterns to define a Hamptons landscape occupied by three homes: a typical Montaukett wigwam, John Howard Payne’s grandfather’s estate, and a contemporary mansion.

    The upstairs gallery will house the first solo show for Ms. Speer, who lives in East Hampton. Also rooted in landscape and patterns found in the natural world, Ms. Speer’s oil paintings are, in her own words, “explorations of the materiality of paint through visual references to the landscape, weather patterns, and atmospheric conditions.” Her visual vocabulary uses all-over washes, lines, and dots to describe nature and explore the qualities of paint.

    A reception will take place Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m.

Abramovic Is Present
    The Watermill Center will host a screening of “Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present” on Saturday at 4 p.m. The feature-length documentary film takes us from the artist’s preparation for her 2010 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art through the three months of its duration. The show included “The Artist Is Present,” a 736-hour-and-30-minute silent piece, in which Ms. Abramovic sat motionless in the museum’s atrium while spectators were invited to take turns sitting opposite her.

    The screening will be followed by a conversation with Brittany Bailey, Abigail Levine, and Will Rawls, dance-performance artists who appeared in the MOMA exhibition. The program is free, but reservations are required and can be made at

    Ms. Abramovic and the Watermill Center are also joining forces for the opening night celebration of Robert Wilson’s “The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic,” which will take place tomorrow at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan. The evening, which is a benefit for the armory and the Watermill Center, will begin with cocktails and dinner at the armory at 6 p.m.

    Blending theater, opera, and visual art, the three-hour program is Mr. Wilson’s reimagining of the life of the performance artist and features Ms. Abramovic, who plays both herself and her mother; an actor, Willem Dafoe, and a singer, Antony of Antony and the Johnsons, who performs original music and songs. The eight-day engagement at the armory is the work’s American premiere. Tickets can be purchased at the Park Avenue Armory’s website.