PUSSY RIOT’S NADYA TOLOKONNIKOVA & MARINA ABRAMOVIC TALK PERFORMANCE & ACTIVISM

Nadya Tolokonnikova and Marina Abravmovic. Photo by Griffin Lipson/BFA.

On May 14th, Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot and artist Marina Abramovic sat down for a conversation on performance and activism, moderated by Melena Ryzik of The New York Times. The discussion was hosted by the newspaper’s TimesTalks series, live events featuring creative pioneers and the publication’s talented columnists and writers. Last month, the TimesTalks Festival saw icons including Grace Jones, Margaret Atwood and Katie Couric take the stage.

Melena Ryzik, Nadya Tolokonnikova, Marina Abravmovic. Photo by Griffin Lipson/BFA.

Tolokonnikova (clad in Pussy Riot’s signature balaclava) and Abramovic discussed the importance of fearlessness in their work, the political aims of performance and the role of the artist activist in modern society. “Without Marina’s work there would not be Russian activism and there would not be Pussy Riot,” Tolokonnikova said. Abramovic is known for executing performances that often push her body to its limits—for example, in her piece “Rythmn 5,” the artist lay down in the middle of a burning star and almost suffocated. “You have to overcome fear. Otherwise you’ll never do anything,” she said. “If you really want to connect to the public, you have to be 120% vulnerable.” You can watch the full talk with Tolokonnikova and Abramovic on Youtube, embedded below.


Upcoming TimesTalks include conversations between André Leon Talley and fashion director and chief fashion critic of The New York Times, Vanessa Friedman; Academy Award-nominated director Liz Garbus, New York Times Washington bureau chief Elisabeth Bumiller, White House correspondent Maggie Haberman and Washington correspondent Michael S. Schmidt, moderated by Times assistant managing editor Sam Dolnick; and a conversation with Bill Clinton and novelist James Patterson, moderated by The New York Times Book Review editor Pamela Paul.

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