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11 November 2005, Marina Abramovic repeated the action “Genital Panic” by Valie Export at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Marina has long hair that isn’t frizzy like Valie’s; she’s wearing black trousers, not jeans like Valie; however, both have the part of the crutch cut away; Marina like Valie is not depilated; Marina wears boots, Valie didn’t; she’s also wearing a black leather jacket, when Valie wore a leather shirt; Marina brandishes a Kalashnikov, Valie didn´t; and Marina is in a museum, not a porn cinema.
In 1979, Valie Export explained to Ruth Askey how the performance went: “Genital Panic was performed in a Munich theatre that showed pornographic films. I was wearing a sweater and trousers with the part between the legs totally cut out. I carried a weapon. Between films I told the public that they had come to this particular theatre to see sexual films. Now actual genitalia was available, and they could do anything they wanted to it. I moved down each row slowly, facing people. I didn´t move in an erotic way. I walked down each row, the gun pointed at the heads of the people. I was afraid and had no idea what the people would do. As I moved from row to row, each row of people silently got up, and left the theatre. Out of a film context, it was a totally different way for them to connect with a particular erotic symbol.”
There are no documents of Valie Export’s action in the porn cinema of Munich. But there are a series of photographs of Valie Export in jeans with the crutch cut out, with a weapon that looks like a toy, frizzy hair, low-heeled shoes and a leather shirt. Peter Hassmann took the photographs, in 1969, in his studio and in the patio outside in Munich.
When Roswitha Mueller interviewed Valie Export again for the book “Valie Export/Fragments of the Imagination” from 1994, the artist denied that she had ever entered a porn cinema in trousers with the crutch cut away and a weapon, that her presence in a theatre or porn cinema formed part of the apocryphal stories about “Genital Panic”.
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