Performance Artist Births a Healthy Boy in a Brooklyn Gallery, as Planned

Performance artist gives birth in front of an audience.

The performance artist Marni Kotak gave birth to healthy 9 pound baby boy, Ajax, in front of a gallery audience yesterday.

She had planned to give birth in the Bushwick gallery, and enlisted a certified midwife and doula. She also set up an birthing room/installation with sentimental objects as well as a bed, birthing ball and a birthing tub.

Araceli Cruz, writing for the Village Voice, describes what she saw when she arrived moments after the birth:

“Kotak calmly eating a banana, the placenta in a bowl and the baby’s father, Jason, holding his son who was wrapped in a blue towel. The beautiful baby boy was wide-eyed, and as quiet as could be, staring blankly into the camera and video lenses that hovered above him.”

Kotak drew criticism for planning to give birth in a gallery but most of it didn’t make a shred of sense to me. She was perfectly safe with trained professionals, good prenatal care and easy hospital back-up. My main concern was that the labor might stall with an audience of strangers! And mightily, it did not. This is the second public birth this month. Just a couple of weeks ago a Canadian doula broadcast her birth live to an audience of thousands– her aim was not to make art but to change our “visual blueprint of birth.”

Apparently a video of the birth will be made available via The Microscope Gallery.

Kotak will continue to make art out of life– next she’s onto a project about mothers and babies.

Photo: Microscope Gallery