Story by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Sara Ayers
Art-world superstar Marina Abramovic’s plan for a performance art museum in Hudson was unveiled on Sunday morning, when she opened the doors of the former Community Tennis building at Columbia and Seventh streets to give folks a chance to see what the building looks like now – and, more importantly, her vision of what the building might look like when her Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art eventually opens. The current projected opening is mid-2014.
Earlier this year Abramovic announced that she had signed a deal with architect Rem Koolhaus to design and construct the museum, and on Sunday there were numerous sketches and scale models on display, giving interested onlookers their first look at what she has in mind for her estimated $15 million project.
The building that once housed a tennis court and a theater is currently empty, awaiting extensive, expensive and much-needed renovations. Walls are deteriorating, and there are no longer stairs for access to the balcony and former projection booth.
Abramovic envisions the museum as a performance space where visitors would sign contracts requiring them to stay at the venue for at least six hours for each performance, ranging from film to opera, from painting to dance, from theater to performance art installations. “You have to give me the time to get an experience,” she said. “If you don’t give me the time, you don’t get the experience.”
Abramovic believes that the six-hour minimum attendance requirement will help make museum-goers focus. “One of the problems with our kids is nobody can focus on anything,” the artist said. “We always think of the future and the past. We don’t think about the here and now. This is the only reality we have – the here and now.”
The artist said that there were many factors in selecting Hudson as the somewhat unlikely site of the museum – its location near the Hudson River, the variety of restaurants, the music scene – but most importantly was Hudson’s burgeoning arts community. “There is an enormous amount of galleries opening,” Abramović said. “There is an enormous amount of artists and collectors ready to accept this kind of place.”
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