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Marina Abramovic to Revisit ‘The Artist is Present’ for Ukraine Benefit Auction

This month Marina Abramović will restage one of her most famous performances, The Artist is in Present, for an auction benefiting Ukraine.

Currently on auction through an Artsy platform is a chance be photographed opposite Abramović at New York’s Sean Kelly gallery, where a survey of her work is currently on view. The photograph will be taken by Marco Anelli, who captured the more than 1,500 people who came to the Museum of Modern Art 12 years ago for a chance to sit across from the artist.

Winners will receive a framed copy of the photograph signed by both Abramović and Anelli, as well the photographer’s 2021 book, Portraits in the Presence of Marina Abramović. The auction kicked off yesterday and runs until March 25. It features two lots: a photo with just one sitter and another with two. All of the proceeds from the sale will go to Direct Relief’s efforts focused on Ukraine.

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A woman gazing at various paintings

In a statement, dealer Sean Kelly said, “We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and are deeply concerned by Putin’s invasion and the unspeakable suffering it has unleashed on the Ukrainian people, stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and are deeply.”

The Serbian performance artist was an early outspoken critic of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has so far claimed more than 1,500 civilian lives, according to the United Nations.

In October, the artist installed the monument Crystal Wall of Crying at the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center in Kyiv, where thousands of Jews were killed by the Nazis during World War II. Earlier this month a Russian missile struck near the site, killing five people and damaging a building the center planned to use for a new museum. Abramović’s memorial was not damaged, the gallery confirmed.

Days into Russia’s unprovoked war, Abramović posted a video in solidarity with Ukraine in which she spoke about being born in the former Yugoslavia, a nation once invaded by the Soviet Union. In the video, she called the Ukrainian people “proud, strong and dignified.”

“I have full solidarity with [the Ukrainian people] on this impossible day,” she said. “An attack on Ukraine is an attack on all of us. It’s an attack on humanity and has to be stopped.”

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