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IMAGE: Marni Kotak
Kathy Willens  /  AP
Performance artist Marni Kotak (holding doll) gave birth to her child at the Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn as part of an art project.
By
updated 10/26/2011 9:38:48 AM ET 2011-10-26T13:38:48

A performance artist who said giving birth is the "highest form of art" has delivered a baby boy — inside a New York City art gallery.

The Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn said Marni Kotak gave birth to a healthy infant, weighing 9 pounds, 2 ounces, and 21 inches long.

The 36-year-old artist had set up a home-birth center at the gallery, turning the space into a brightly decorated bedroom with ocean blue walls, a fully-stocked refrigerator and a portable shower with curtain pockets filled with photos from her three baby showers.

The gallery said in a statement that "Baby X" was born at 10:17 a.m. Tuesday. It didn't say how many people witnessed the birth or give any other detail.

During "The Birth of Baby X" durational piece, which began Oct. 8, Kotak spent as much time at the gallery as possible talking to visitors about motherhood, art and other issues. She said those who left their contact information would be notified when she went into labor.

She expected about 15 people to attend.

Kotak, who was born in Norwood, Mass., said all her performances focus on everyday life experiences. She has been re-enacting events from her life for more than 10 years, including her own birth, losing her virginity in "a sunny blue Plymouth" and her grandfather's funeral.

In combining the birth of her child with artistic expression, Kotak said she wanted to show "this amazing life performance that ... is essentially hidden from public view" and that addresses social taboos regarding the human body.

Childbirth as performance art? Top 10 reasons this is a bad idea

"She's in the tradition of using your life as your authentic material and shaping and forming it" — a tradition that goes back to 1959 when filmmaker Stan Brakhage recorded the birth of his first child as a work of art, said feminist artist Carolee Schneemann, whose own works deal with taboo themes of sexuality.

"She's vulnerable, she's exposed," she said of Kotak. "It's the most basic visceral experience that also has the most taboos."

The gallery said a video of the birth will be added to its upcoming exhibition.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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