Only in New York.
Performance artist Marni Kotak delivered (literally) her most personal work of art yet on Tuesday: a baby boy. Kotak, 36, gave birth in front of an open audience at the Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn, an act she calls the “highest form of art.”
Baby Ajax was born at 10:17 a.m. New York time, weighing in at 9 pounds, 2 ounces, and 21 inches long, the Associated Press reports. Before Tuesday, he was known as “Baby X,” the unborn star of Kotak’s “The Birth of Baby X” piece which began its run Oct. 8th. Kotak met with visitors at the gallery to discuss motherhood and art, and collected contact information for those interested in being informed when she went into labor, so they could rush over to be a part of the very personal piece.
Kotak transformed the gallery into a home-birth center, painting the walls a calming blue color, decorating the walls with photos of babies, and even put up a 10-foot trophy to honor her baby’s birth.
She expected about 15 people to attend the birth, but the gallery hasn’t released official numbers. The Village Voice’s Araceli Cruz was in attendance, though she arrived just after the baby was born, and reports that following the birth Kotak was “calmly eating a banana, the placenta in a bowl,” while the baby’s father, Jason, held his new son in a blue towel. A camera and video hovering above captured the baby’s first peaceful moments of life.
For anyone who missed the event, the exhibition runs through November 7 and will feature a video of the whole ordeal, along with “remnants” from the birth. For Kotak, it seems her performance is just beginning, as she appears to view Ajax’s entire upbringing to be an art project in itself. Her next project is called “Raising Baby X” and, as she outlines on her website, will be a long-term undertaking in which she’ll write and publish an “anthology of memoirs” of her experiences with motherhood, encompassing Ajax’s life “from birth through attending college and developing an independent life.”
Of course, we can’t help but imagine that at some point her subject might rebel, being under a microscope his whole life and everything. NewsFeed will be eagerly awaiting the release of “Raising Baby X: The Angsty Teen Years” in 2026.