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Marina Abramovic 'THE KITCHEN VIII'
Marina Abramovic, ‘THE KITCHEN VIII’

Marina Abramović’s dinner party mistaken for satanic cult

Conservative news sites wrongly suggested a leaked email from the artist to Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman revealed an occult sex ritual

Serbian performance artist Marina Abramović became embroiled in a Satanic Panic, after a leaked email about a dinner party with “spirit cooking” forwarded to Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief was said to reference occult sex rituals.

The email between the artist and Tony Podesta, which were forwarded to his brother John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairperson, read: “I am so looking forward to the Spirit Cooking dinner at my place. Do you think you will be able to let me know if your brother is joining?” The invitation from Abramović was extended to Tony Podesta, who is a collector of her work, and his brother, as part of a dinner party for big donors to her campaign.

A Kickstarter to supporter the Marina Abramović Institute offered those who pledged over $10,000  a night of ‘Spirit Cooking with Marina Abramović’, described as “A dinner night with Marina during which she will teach you and other backers at this level how to cook a series of traditional soups, which you will all enjoy together. The night will end with the making of a golden ball, a recipe given to Marina in a Tibetan monastery”.

The event was only given a “funny name” for an otherwise “normal dinner”, according to Abramović. 10 guests were included, though John Podesta was not present. As Artnet reports, “Spirit cooking” also makes reference to a 1996 ‘aphrodisiac cookbook’, which aimed to cook up thoughts rather than food - or demonic entities - as well as a performance art series she demonstrated in the 90s. During the performance, she wrote phrases such as “Fresh morning urine sprinkle over nightmare dreams” in pig’s blood.

Republican author Mark Dice said on Twitter: “I am now accepting apologies from everyone who said I was crazy for writing books about how the Establishment are Satanists”. “Illuminati psychos. Podesta and Hillary, what else do you expect?” he added.

Several conservative news sites also seized upon the leaked email as an example of Satanism in the political and art worlds, making false claims that 'bizarre occult rituals' inspired by Satanist Aleister Crowley, that use menstrual blood, semen and breast milk, were taking place. Right wing news site Infowars’ Alex Jones said it was, “one of the most disturbing WikiLeaks revelations to date”, and “reports that FBI agents see Hillary Clinton as ‘the antichrist personified’ now make a lot more sense”. The YouTube video of the critically-acclaimed artist, whose work explores aspects of pain, sexuality and blood, performing ‘Spirit Cooking’ was overrun with panicked commenters.

Abramović told Artnews: “I’m outraged, because this is taken completely out of my context,” she said. “It was just a normal dinner. It was actually just a normal menu, which I call spirit cooking. There was no blood, no anything else. We just call things funny names, that’s all.”

She refuted the claims by the right wing groups that her work was in any way Satanic. “My work is really more about spirituality and not anything else,” she explained. “I’ve been doing my work for so long, and this is a misunderstanding. It’s absolutely outrageous and ridiculous... I mean, this world is really turning to hell. I am completely amazed, something is taken out of context for the purpose of winning. We are living in such a strange world.”