How did performance art – once so reviled – come to be a pop staple? Is Gaga merely a revamped Yoko Ono?
The first time Marina Abramovic heard Antony Hegarty sing, she says, she burst into tears. “It was at a concert of Rufus Wainwright,” explains the woman who sternly minds you not to refer to her as “the grandmother of performance art”, despite a 40-year career that’s variously involved inhaling carbon dioxide until she passed out, scrubbing the blood from 1,500 cow bones and sitting in the atrium of New York’s Museum of Modern Art for 736 hours while visitors formed an orderly queue to stare at her. “He invites special guests – Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson – but in the middle of all this, Antony opens his mouth and sings one song called Snowy Angel. I stood up from my chair and burst out crying. His voice is an emotional hologram of my soul.”