Marina Abramović. Photo courtesy of the Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu in Torun.
A touring Marina Abramović retrospective has touched down in Poland—and the nation’s right-wing Catholics are not happy about it. The show, “Marina Abramović: Do Czysta/The Cleaner” at the Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu in Toruń, has caused a panic over a misplaced belief that the famed performance artist worships the devil.
A group of the faithful targeted what they called the exhibition’s “Satanic vernissage” on Friday, according to a translated post from the Facebook group Zawierzam Maryi, Polish for “I Entrust to Mary.” The message urged Catholics to protest the exhibition’s arrival in the country so that the world wouldn’t have an excuse to trot out stereotypes about Polish stupidity.
The museum did not respond to inquiries, but roughly 40 opponents of the exhibition showed up at the opening, a representative for the artist told artnet News. The demonstration was peaceful, according to the spokesperson: “No protests. Just silence and some extremely quiet prayers.”
Rumors of Abramović’s supposed satanic predilections can be traced to the 2016 US presidential election, during which the artist played an unlikely role in Wikileaks’s hack of the email account of John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Abramović had sent a message inviting John’s brother Tony Podesta, a collector and longtime Abramović supporter, to an evening of “Spirit Cooking with Marina Abramović.” (Tony forwarded the invitation to his brother.)