Legendary performance artist Marina Abramović is staging her seminal The Artist Is Present installation. And this time, people will have the opportunity to bid and become part of the performance in an effort to raise funds for Ukraine. Together with New York's Sean Kelly Gallery, Artsy, and photographer Marco Anelli, Abramović is holding an auction to join her in this performance.
The Artist Is Present was originally held at New York's MoMA in 2010 during a retrospective of Abramović's career. For 716- and-a-half hours she sat at a table and locked eyes with visitors who sat before her for nearly three months. Each person was photographed by Anelli, her longtime photographer. Now, thanks to this special auction, three new visitors will get this opportunity.
The online auction, which is being held on Artsy, has two separate experiences. One is to be photographed alone with Abramović and the other is for two people to sit at the table with the Serbian artist. Once again, Anelli will be present to photograph each sitting. The auction winners will receive a framed copy of this photograph signed by Abramović and Anelli. They will also receive a signed copy of Anelli's book, Portraits in the Presence of Marina Abramović, which contains all 1,545 portraits from the MoMA performance.
All proceeds from the auction will go to Direct Relief‘s emergency response to the Ukraine invasion.
Abramović worked in Ukraine last year, with her Crystal Wall of Crying erected at the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center in Kyiv. She was quick to denounce Russia's action in a video message published shortly after the invasion began. “I have full solidarity with them on this impossible day,” she says in the video. “An attack on Ukraine is an attack on all of us. It’s an attack on humanity and has to be stopped.”
Currently, Sean Kelly is holding a retrospective of Abramović's work. When two gallery employees came up with the idea for an auction to benefit Ukraine, the artist was enthusiastic. In a short time, they were able to pull the event together. “We felt we needed to do something fast,” Kelly shares. “We just feel it’s a huge imperative to get money into people’s hands as quickly as possible.”