Serbian artist Marina Abramović and Pussy Riot frontwoman Nadya Tolokonnikova are taking the stage together for the first time for a discussion on protest art and pushing boundaries in New York.

Hosted by the New York Times, the discussion event between the two women on 14 May plans to dissect protest art in the modern age, as well as the political and social systems where Tolokonnikova and Abramović work and perform.

With a career spanning four decades, Abramović pioneered the performance art scene with striking visual pieces that explored the limits of the body and the relationship between audience and performer. Her latest art piece, due to premier in 2020, will see the the 71-year-old zapped with one million volts of electricity during a performance at London’s Royal Academy of Arts. She will be the first woman to take over the institute’s galleries space with a major show.

Tolokonnikova was launched into the spotlight in after taking part in Pussy Riot’s infamous 2012 rendition of Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Expel Putin! in Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral, eventually serving two years in prison. While the original group has since fragmented, Tolokonnikova has continued her role in the movement, releasing several English-language music videos and announcing a US tour. The move follows the opening of Tolokonnikova’s immersive theatre experience in London, Inside Pussy Riot, which attempted to refashion the collective as a global phenomenon.

“All my life I have been trying to do political art and my goal is to make people sympathetic to certain causes,” Tolokonnikova said. “You’re not doing a political protest in order to be marginal, you are doing a political protest in order to be heard.”

For more information, visit the Times Talks website here.

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