Announcing Abramovic, The Institute
“There comes a moment in every artist’s life when it is important to ask, what is going to be my legacy,” said Marina Abramovic this morning. She announced one answer to her own question at a private presentation and breakfast: with plans for her namesake institute in Hudson, New York, slated to open in 2014. Despite being early Monday morning, post-Frieze, a crowd of art-philes—including gallerist Serge Le Borgne, architect Shohei Shigematsu, and Milan city councilor Stefano Boeri—assembled inside the Performance Dome at MoMA PS1 for a first glimpse at the long-anticipated Marina Abramovic Institute, dedicated to the preservation of performance art.
After espresso and quiche, MoMA chief curator at large Klaus Biesenbach introduced Abramovic, who described the mission of the institute. “After my three-month performance at MoMA, I realized that only long-duration works have serious potential to change the viewer, because there is no division between normal daily activity and performance,” she explained. “I wanted to create a laboratory where the public can learn how to view performance work in a comfortable, no-stress space.” Helmed by architect Rem Koolhaas, the former cinema-turned-tennis club will feature a theater with surrounding classrooms, a library, and a gym as well as crystal chambers and “levitation rooms” for viewers to “regenerate.” According to Abramovic, visitors will be asked to sign contracts, giving their “word of honor” that they will stay for at least two and a half hours in the exhibit, and wear lab coats with noise-canceling headphones to experience her long-duration oeuvres, which can last from six hours to a whopping 365 days. (Fret not—Abramovic is creating recliner-cum-wheelchair devices, in which guests can sleep and be rolled in and out of performances at their leisure, or they can retreat to nearby hotels, which she eventually hopes to build for the influx of visitors.) With a fundraising target of $8 million, Abramovic has certainly set her sights high. Her ultimate goal? “To become a brand like Coca Cola, but for hard-core performance art.”