Wait, Child Birth is Art Now?

I enjoy and appreciate most forms of artistic expression, whether it be through photography, painting, acting or music. I am always intrigued by how artists can make even the simplest object a complex work of art. However, I am positive I would not enjoy the performance premiering within the next two weeks, featuring performance artist Marni Kotak playing herself in “The Birth of Baby X,” or the birth of her first child.

I’m totally not kidding. According to Fox.com, Kotak is planning to deliver her baby in front of 15 observers plus the birthing team (the capacity of the small room) at the Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn. Since the exhibit opened on October 8th, Kotak has been spending most of her time at the gallery, having made her own birthing area equipped with pictures, videos, a rocking chair, her Grandmother’s double bed, a kitchenette and even a portable shower with a clear plastic curtain.

For ten years, Kotak has been using her own life experiences as topics for her performances. Some of her reenactments were of her own birth, the loss of her virginity and her Grandfather’s funeral.
I can’t be the only one who thinks this is a little excessive, right? Don’t get me wrong, I think the birth of a child is a beautiful thing, and everyone should experience it at least once--whether it be yourself, a family member or a close friend—but allowing people to view this intimate experience at a museum is just creepy! Come on!

When asked whether she would know who would be observing, Kotak said that she has been “developing authentic relationships with these people,” talking to them about motherhood, birth and mutual art interests. Of the people that she has been interacting with in the time leading up to the birth, she will call those who she has built the best rapport with and notify them when she goes into labor.

Well as long as they’re not STRANGERS! Like that makes birthing a child, while 15 people completely unrelated to the birth watch, a normal process. You’ve got to give the woman some credit though; there are not a lot of people who would allow themselves to be so vulnerable for the sake of art.

As much as I don’t want to be part of the audience for this exhilarating performance, I have to say I’m quite intrigued about how it will go down. Do people in the audience have to wear sterile smocks and gloves just to observe? Do they clap when it’s done? Can they talk while all of this is going on? What would they say? (Insert snarky comment inappropriate for blog here).

Please share your comments about this performance; I’m very curious what the world has to say about it.