Artist: Marina Abramovic

Chris Burden wasn’t the only performance artist who displayed a taste for masochism in 1974. In what came to be known as Marina Abramovic’s most famous exhibition, the fate of the self-proclaimed “grandmother of performance art” was put completely in the hands of the audience. The stunt involved Abramovic standing before the masses, beside her a table of 72 objects, which the audience was invited via note to use upon her in any way they pleased. From feathers and whips to scalpels and knives, nothing was off limits. At first, the audience responded modestly, barely prodding the passive artist, but by the end, her clothes had been cut off, her skin had been sliced with razors, her stomach punctured by rose thorns, and a gun had even been held to her head. Per Abramovic, “What I learned was that…if you leave it up to the audience, they can kill you.”