Marina Abramović Teams With New Jersey Art Empire Mana

Eugene Lemay and Marina Abramovic at Mana Contemproary. Photo:

In what would have seemed like an impossible pairing just a few years ago, performance artist Marina Abramović and her forthcoming institute in upstate New York will partner with the vast Jersey City art megaplex Mana Contemporary for a series marathon of durational performance art workshops in October. The first instance of what promises to be an ongoing collaboration between the Marina Abramović Institute (MAI) and Mana, dubbed “MAI@MANA-1,” will run October 17–19, with the organizers anticipating a whopping 10,000 participants in the 72-hour workshop series.

“The collaboration between Mana and MAI evolved organically more than a year ago and is based on shared ideology,” Mana president Eugene Lemay said in a statement. The activities will take place in Mana’s Richard Meier-designed Glass Gallery and will be based upon Abramović’s performance art pieces, although which ones exactly remains to be seen.

While it seems plausible that some participants will be made to stare at one another for long periods of time, as in her MoMA piece The Artist Is Present, it’s unlikely that anyone will be made to reenact, say, her 1980 collaboration with Ulay The Other: Rest Energy—in which the duo stood together, maintaining their balance by clinging to a drawn bow and arrow aimed at Abramovic. And, similarly, it’s unlikely that crowds will strip down to their birthday suits to reperform 1977’s Imponderabilia, in which a male and female performer stand naked on either side of a doorway, forcing anyone hoping to pass the threshold to squeeze between them.

The workshops will be for ticket-buyers only, with proceeds from sales going to fund the construction of the MAI. In addition to the October extravaganza, Mana has invited Abramović to set up a satellite of MAI in its Jersey City space.

“The people here at Mana are just incredibly great and generous, and most of all understand the purpose of my institute,” Abramović commented.

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