Marina Abramovic turns to Kickstarter for new project

Performance artist Marina Abramovic in Los Angeles in 2011.
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Marina Abramovic, the famed performance artist, is turning to Kickstarter to raise money for her latest effort.

The project is the grandly titled Marina Abramovic Institute, a planned performing arts center in upstate New York that will serve as a venue for “long durational” work -- i.e., pieces whose running time exceeds six hours. The artist is looking to raise at least $600,000 for the design phase of the building.

Abramovic has hired architects Rem Koolhaas and Shohei Shigematsu of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture to transform an unoccupied building in Hudson, N.Y. (The artist reportedly wanted to build the institute in Brooklyn but couldn’t find the right property.) The center will serve as a home for various types of performance (and performing) art, including dance, theater and opera.

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The total cost of the project is expected to be $20 million. No opening date has been announced.


The artist said audience participation was a key component of the venue. Visitors will leave their belongings in a safe place and enter the building in completely immersive way. If viewers fall asleep during a performance, they will be moved to another space where they can remain asleep.

The artist answered questions in a Reddit session on Tuesday. One person asked why a wealthy artist like Abramovic needed to resort to Kickstarter to raise money for a personal project.

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She responded that she has spent her own money on the project as well.

Abramovic said she bought the building for $950,000 and then donated it to the nonprofit organization that is managing the project. The director of the Marina Abramovic Institute is French gallery director Serge Le Borgne.

“I also paid another half a million for the master plan of Rem Koolhaas from my own money and the office budget for five months. So this does not belong to me anymore, it belongs to anybody,” Abramovic wrote.

The artist explains the concept of the institute in an online video.


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