You don’t need to slap together an art exhibit to convey to me that birth is the highest form of expression, but 36-year-old Marni Kotak plans to give birth in a gallery to express exactly that.
The first-time mommy has set up camp in the Microscope Gallery in Bushwick in a “birthing room.” The exhibit is entitled “The Birth of Baby X” which opened this past weekend. Marni apparently doesn’t know the sex of the baby yet or her exact due date, but she’ll be parked at the Micoscope Gallery for the next five weeks.
According to the New York Post, visitors have been warned that the baby could be born at any minute. When discussing her intentions for the work, Marni told the Post:
“I hope that people will see that human life itself is the most profound work of art, and that therefore giving birth, the greatest expression of life, is the highest form of art,” she said.
I understand the artist’s point and given that she’ll have her husband, midwife, and doula all close-by, Marni’s birth seems no less risky than a standard home birth. But managing labor in a room full of curious onlookers reminds me of the birth practices of mid-century royalty as queens and princesses heaved through contractions with the entire palace present.
But Marni continues to only look ahead as she already as her next performance piece lined up: “Raising Baby X.” According to the gallery, this performance will “recontextualize” the day-to-day practices of childrearing. I imagine that some of our most frequent readers could hold such an exhibit in their very homes.