• Ragnar Kjartansson, from “God”

I tend to seek out in art what I seek out in people—qualities that I don’t have, or don’t have enough of. In my social life, I’m drawn to ebullient optimists, people with punishing work ethics, and savants who can do long division in their heads. Through them, I can patch up the little deficiencies in my own being. In art, I have long been drawn to performance work—both because the idea of putting oneself on display terrifies me and the level of endurance the work requires is pretty much unfathomable. When iconic performance artist Marina Abramovic staged at MoMA in 2010 “The Artist is Present” , sitting in a chair for six hours every day over a three-month period while steadily and silently holding the gaze of any patron who sat down across from her, she effectively conquered two of my own personal nightmares: sitting still and prolonged eye contact with a stranger. But it’s Ragnar Kjartansson, performance artist and Icelandic pop star, that I’ve long admired for his willingness to immerse himself in the depths of monotony.