Marina Abramović Cancels Plans for New York Performance Art Institute

Performance artist Marina Abramović has decided to abandon her plan to convert a building she bought in upstate New York into a performance art institute after she was unable to raise the $31 million needed to fund the project, Cristina Ruiz reports in the Art Newspaper.

Billed as a space to “cultivate new kinds of performance while functioning as a living archive, preserving and hosting performances of historic pieces,” the Marina Abramović Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art was meant to be a venue where artists and audiences could participate in and view long-duration performances, lasting six hours or more.

The artist came up with the idea for the project after the success of her exhibition “The Artist Is Present,” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2010. For the piece, she spent more than seven hundred hours sitting silently at a table while people took turns occupying an empty chair across from her in order to lock eyes with the artist.

Abramović initially secured more than $660,000 from a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013 and put the money toward a preliminary design for the institute that was drawn up by Rem Koolhaas. The artist called the designs “absolutely beautiful” during a talk hosted by Fondation Beyeler at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery on Wednesday, October 4.

However, after learning of the cost to transform the 33,000-square-foot structure into a flexible space for multidisciplinary initiatives, the artist realized that she would not be able to finance the project. Abramović said that the 1936 building, located in the Hudson River Valley, is currently filled with pigeons and that she will most likely sell the property. “Whenever institutions invite us [to exhibit], we do the work [there],” she said. “Our slogan now is: ‘Don’t come to us; we come to you.’”