Black-and-white photo of a newborn baby.
A woman in New York plans to give birth in front of an audience. (Photo Credit: CC BY/Mamma Loves/Flickr)

The Village Voice says eight-months-pregnant performance artist Marni Kotak, 36, will soon give birth before a live audience at the Microscope Gallery in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. Spectators in the New York area are flocking to watch Kotak’s live birth performance.

Witness the Birth of Baby X

Viewers can witness a very pregnant Marni Kotak give birth while surrounded by all the comforts of home, such as her grandmother’s bed, a rocking chair and a series of her own paintings. A framed sonogram is also on the wall of the performance art space. Midwife and doula are prepared for the birth event being called “The Birth of Baby X.” The show officially began Oct. 8 and may run as long as Nov. 7, depending upon the physical condition of the performer.

Life is art is life

The Los Angeles Times reports that Marni Kotak has staged “unconventional” performance art before, including re-enactments of the loss of her virginity and her grandmother’s funeral.

“I wouldn’t say I’m scared to do this, because I have a good support team: my midwife, my doula and a wonderful husband,” Kotak told the New York Post. “Of course, I am a bit nervous about the whole process of giving birth and having a child, and like every mother, I am hoping that everything goes smoothly.”

Microscope Gallery employee Elle Burchill reportedly told the New York Times that safety precautions are being taken for the Birth of Baby X. In the event of a performance art emergency, Woodhull Medical Center is less than a mile away.

“We have everything here that you would have in a home birth,” Burchill said.

Once Baby X is born, the performance art will not be complete for Kotak, writes Los Angeles Times. It will simply change titles, to “Raising Baby X,” where as the artist puts it, she will “re-contextualize the everyday act of raising a child into a work of performance art.”

Real life as the highest art

Authentic personal experience is in some ways the only life preserver left for those drowning in an ocean of unreal, unsatisfying hyper-reality. Kotak sees her live birth performance art as an acknowledgment that this life does indeed have real meaning and value. Human life portrayed as a work of art is the highest form of art conceivable, she argues.

“In giving birth in front of the audience, I am showing … that real life is the best performance art, and that, if our eyes can be opened to it, all of the meaning that we seek is right there in our everyday lives,” Kotak said.

A taste of Marni Kotak’s non-birth-related work


Huffington Post:

Los Angeles Times:

Marni Kotak portfolio:

Microscope Gallery:


Village Voice:

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