Marina Abramovic Ends Plans for OMA-Designed Art Institute After $2.2 Million Fundraising Campaign

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Some of OMA's design concepts. Image © OMA Some of OMA's design concepts. Image © OMA

Performance artist Marina Abramovic has ended plans for her OMA-designed upstate New York art institute, leaving questions about what happened to the $2.2 million she raised from a slate of celebrity patrons and nearly 5,000 Kickstarter donors.

When Abramovic first announced the project in 2012, she touted the plans as transformative for the town of Hudson, New York. To be known as the Marina Abramovic Institute (MAI), the facility was intended to create a new space for the “collaboration between art, science, technology and spirituality.”

Abramovic tapped OMA’s Rem Koolhaas and Shohei Shigematsu to design the space, located within an old 33,000-square-foot theater. Early architectural concepts were daringly experimental – ideas included a theater with seats that could be individually rolled away if visitors were to fall asleep during planned hours-long performances.

Some of OMA's design concepts. Image © OMA Some of OMA's design concepts.
Some of OMA's design concepts. Image © OMA
Some of OMA's design concepts. Image © OMA
© OMA

But the artist has now revealed she will not be moving forward with the project, after an initial cost estimate of $20 million ballooned to a $31 million price tag. According to the New York Post, the announcement came as a surprise to both the residents of Hudson and Kickstarter backers, some of who also complained that they had never received their promised rewards for funding the project.

When asked about the missing $2.2 million, a spokeswoman for MAI commented that all of the money, plus additional funds, had gone toward paying the architects.

When asked if Abramovic would return the cash, a spokeswoman for the artist said all the money raised through Kickstarter, plus additional funds, went to pay Koolhaas’s firm.

“The funds were raised not for the renovation itself but specifically for the schematics and the feasibility study,” the spokeswoman said. “They were used for exactly that purpose.”

Some of OMA's design concepts. Image © OMA Some of OMA's design concepts. Image © OMA
Some of OMA's design concepts. Image © OMA Some of OMA's design concepts. Image © OMA

Read the full statement posted on MAI’s website, below:

MAI’s mission is and has always been to promote performance art and to create communal and participatory art experiences for the largest amount of people possible.

MAI partners with venues and artists presenting workshops and projects around the world. For the past three years, MAI has presented 13 art experiences in 12 countries the majority of which was free of entrance and open to the public. The events have been attended by hundreds of thousands of people.

The building on 620 Columbia Street in Hudson, NY, was donated to MAI by Marina Abramovic and it was intended to provide an educational space to host performances, workshops, lectures, residencies and research.

The initial architectural study was performed by OMA, New York. At this stage, the projected budget for the completion of the project was estimated between 15 and 20 million dollars.

MAI initiated a Kickstarter campaign to fund the second phase of the studies, the schematic designs. After the completion of this phase, the project budget was estimated to exceed 31 million dollars.

In view of that, the Board of MAI has decided to cancel the building project. The project cost and the project risk far exceeds initial expectations and estimates.

MAI continues to be committed to serving its mission and to achieve the greatest possible global impact.

News via the New York Post.

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