Pregnant Performance Artist Pulls Off Live Birth


pregnant bellyRemember that story about the pregnant performance artist in Brooklyn who was planning to give birth in a gallery in front of a live audience and call it art?

Well, she did it. Yes, she did. She actually pulled it off.

Both mother (Marni Kotak) and baby (a boy, who was not, ultimately, called "art," but given the moniker Ajax) are apparently happy and healthy and probably quite pleased with themselves. The birth occurred, yup, in a gallery, in front of a crowd of onlookers at the appropriately named Microscope Gallery, reportedly with the baby's father on hand, at 10:17 on Tuesday morning.

And you know what? As distasteful as this birth scenario is to me personally (a baby is not a 'work of art,' a baby is a person, albeit a very small one), I bet those people in the audience ("family, friends, and select spectators") learned a hell of a lot.

I bet they emerged transported and transformed. I bet they will never look at childbirth or women's bodies quite the same way again. Even those audience members who have themselves given birth. Maybe especially those who have themselves given birth.

Having recently been invited into the delivery room by a close friend to help out at the birth of her daughter, I can tell you that the experience of watching a child emerge into this world was seriously profound. It pretty much blew my mind. (Our bodies are amazing. They really are.) In fact, I may well have learned more about labor and delivery in that room than I did during the birth of my own two children. (I was a little too busy then to pause and marvel over the process.)

So while I would never (ever) want to give birth in front of a crowd myself, I have to hand it to Kotak. You could look at her choice as ridiculously self-centered and self-indulgent. (Of course you could.) Or you could look at it as a remarkable act of generosity. She shared the miraculous process of her baby's birth with a bunch of other people. And now that we know that the birth ended safely and healthily for everyone involved, it really doesn't seem like such a terrible choice after all. Does it?

Does the fact that it all worked out OK change your opinion of Kotak's decision to give birth so publicly?


Image via o5com/Flickr

birth stories, delivery, homebirth, labor, labor & delivery


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Stacey. Stacey.

No because the baby is not a freak show that spectators should pay to gawk at (even if it was free!). Also, it wasn;t to help train any medical professionals and serves no purpose except some sick way the mother got off on doing this.

Kritika Kritika in the powder cleaner?

Mari Deutsch

I think she's a brave badass.

tinyp... tinypossum

You said it: ridiculously self-centered and self-indulgent. 

nonmember avatar blh

Tasteless, classless and a total attentionwhore. And...Ajax??

Jaco Bee Keys

People get weirder and weirder every day...

Melis... Melissa042807

Isn't Ajax a cleaning product? *snicker*

Sarah Cazier

Ajax was on my baby name list.. My husband didn't even know it was a cleaner when he suggested it.. he just thought it was a strong Greek name.

While I think the format in which this woman did this was a little off.. the idea of what a viewer would take away from it is profound.

Raise of hands on how many readers are obsessed with Lifetime shows like 'So we're having a baby'? How many have seen 'The Miracle of Birth'? I prepared myself for the birth process by watching live births on YouTube... See? It's already been done. 

No story here kids.. except the venue.

tis.u... tis.unnatural

She's trying to educate people and show them that birth is a completely natural, non-medical (in most cases) act. You don't need a hospital and drugs to have a baby. How is that selfish? If you don't care to be educated about birth, and about what your body is actually capable of doing naturally, then don't look.

nonmember avatar Hallie

That woman is incredibly brave and astounding. I cannot believe you would put the 'art' part of this down. That is what we do! Women give birth. That is the only thing that sets us apart from the rest of humanity, so how could something so beautiful, pure, and innocent be portrayed as anything other than art?? I commend this woman and hope that this opens the eyes of people everywhere to exactly how miraculous and beautiful the birth of a child, whether grotesquely gooey or clean with powder, is.

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