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Ulay Was Here

Stedelijk Museum / Amsterdam / Art

“I always have the idea, if you have the pretension and ambition to do something for [an] audience, then don’t kiss their asses. I think you should do something for your own needs. To do something more than a 100 percent, but while you are doing it, take at least 30 percent back, to make them a little more longing for it. . . . You have to tease the audience.” The artist Ulay, born Frank Uwe Laysiepen in 1943, in Germany, is known mostly through his 12-year partnership, in life and onstage, with Marina Abramović. But in Amsterdam he had a radical career before they teamed up, and it continued after they parted ways. His medium was his body and he worked at the point where photography and performance art meet, exploring gender identity and cultural politics. Ulay died in March of 2020. The Stedelijk retrospective honors the artist who said, “From early on, I liked to revolt.” —L.J.

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Stedelijk Museum Museumplein 10, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands
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