The former theater in Hudson, New York will combine Abramović’s pioneering spirit for performance art with OMA’s expertise in designing theatres, museums and art-experiential venues. On the heels of a wildly successful performance exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, which included performances by the artist and reenactments by a cast of other performance artists, Abramović will be transferring that success into the new MAI center.
The building, purchased by Abramović, had become an indoor tennis court and warehouse after the theater closed. The building will be returned to the realm of the theater, centered around performance and perception, and create a parallel to make each visitor also a performer.
Since the MAI will be the first institution for performance, performance education and performance art research, OMA will help create new furniture and lighting concepts to enhance the viewing experience, particularly focused on visitors’ comfort during longer performances. The furniture will include special massaging chairs on wheels, that will allow ushers to wheel out viewers to sanctioned areas, should they fall asleep during long performances.
Abramović herself is planning to raise most of the $15 million for the project, which is hoped to be completed by 2014.