SELLER: Marina Abramović
LOCATION: New York City, NY
SIZE: (approximately) 3,000 square feet, 1 bedroom, 1.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: ‘Tis the end of the year (and a travel day to boot) so much to the chagrin of some, we’re sure, Your Mama’s gonna to take the low road today and dredge up a wee piece of New York City art world celebrity real estate that we didn’t stop to (dis or) discuss earlier in the year, namely the very spare SoHo loft performance art pioneer Marina Abramović first heaved and hoisted on to the market in January (2011) with an asking price of $3,750,000. By May the price had dropped to $3,375,000 and in mid-August it was taken off the market until late September when it reappeared with a mysteriously higher (and current) price tag of $3,495,000.
The raven-tressed and Serbian by birth Miz Abramović, who apparently once described herself as the “Grandmother of Performance Art,” has been making decidedly intense, sometimes obtuse, often enigmatic and frequently controversial performance-based artwork for more than three decades. Art-minded types probably already know and recall that from mid-March to the tail end of May 2010 the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown Manhattan held a comprehensive retrospective of her work that included the punishing 736.5 hour extended performance of The Artist is Present during which Miz Abramović, weirdly regal in a floor-length blue or red wizard-like outfit and a sloppy side pony braid, sat silent, all but immobile at a small table set up in the airy atrium of the museum where spectators, one at a time, sat in an opposite chair for as long or short amount of time as they wished. The artist and the sitter(s) simply stared at each other, a quiet and painfully self-conscious yet terrifically dynamic exercise that produced a variety of (sometimes emotional) responses from participants, some who returned several and even many times. Your Mama did not sit with Miz Abramović during her epic performance but we do know a number who did. Most said they were mesmerized and unexpectedly moved and the others thought it was a silly waste of time.
Anyhoo, property records are a bit vague for Miz Abramović’s SoHo spread, but previous reports about the apartment indicate she acquired the approximately 3,000 square foot full-floor loft sometime in 2001 for around $1,500,000. Current monthly maintenance charges run $2,269 per month).
The sixty-something year old avant garde art star later and somewhat recently had the apartment overhauled from top to bottom by New York-based architect Dennis Wedlick. A 2010 article in the New York Times states that Miz Abramović provided Mister Wedlick 4 months and three-quarters of a million clams to re-work the loft in to its present condition, a light-filled minimalist urban retreat with direct (manually operated) elevator access and gleaming gallery white walls juxtaposed with very purposeful and vibrant bursts of color. An interior structure compactly and cost-effectively encloses a variety of the apartment’s plumbing and service areas into a single, permeable and semi-transparent 325-ish square foot interior volume that contains a fitted dressing room in the master bedroom, a half bathroom off the long, window-lined entrance gallery, a luxurious but utilitarian master bathroom, and a wee but well-equipped galley style kitchen. The outer wall of the translucent light box-like structure is lined with aluminum framed frosted glass panels that swing open or twist close to reveal or conceal the inner areas as desired or necessary.
About half the approximately 3,000 square foot spread encompasses a prairie-like living and dining area with 11-foot (or so) ceiling, 13 over-sized windows that run in perfect sequence around two walls, an acre of white-washed hardwood floors, and an extensive lighting system. Listing photos show the vast, sun-bleached space divided into three distinct areas: a lounge with low-slung Euro-style contemporary and mid-century modern furnishings; a dining area near the kitchen; and an open space outfitted with little more than a personal (and trendy) Pilates machine.
Certainly Miz Abramović has a studio space where she exercises her creative impulses but Your Mama imagines Miz Abramović might sometimes instruct her team of hipster assistants and minimum wage booty kissers to push all the low-slung Patricia Urquiola-designed Lowseat sofas up against the walls when she’s feeling in the mood to interpretive dance or wants to rehearse one of her mind and body challenging performance pieces that have made her rich and famous, or at least famous in the Art World, caps intended.
The galley style kitchen, small as it may be, packs an ocular punch with top-of-the-line Euro-style appliances, custom fabricated polished concrete counter tops, and lacquered turquoise and apple green flat-fronted cabinetry. We’re certain many if not most of the children will poo-poo the eye-popping color scheme in the kitchen but Your Mama, an out-and-out sucker for bright and/or shiny things, happens to think it’s the bees knees in contemporary kitchen design.
A coat closet and larger storage closet flank a door that leads to the building’s interior stair hall and helps to define a bookshelf-lined office nook nestled in next to a series of sliding panels that disappear completely into the wall when fully opened to reveal the apartment’s lone bedroom, a sizable multi-windowed room with commodious walk-in closet, even larger custom-fitted dressing room, and master bathroom that offers top quality Thassos marble tile floors and walls, two cast concrete sinks on a cornflower blue pedestal, a separate cast concrete soaking tub and opaque glass panels that slide open to reveal the terlit and bee-day and large shower enclosure with pebble tile flooring.
Listing information indicates a second bedroom can be “easily added” without compromising the overall expansiveness of the loft by sectioning off a small portion of the main living space.
In addition to her sparely done loft in downtown Manhattan, Miz Abramović also owns a semi-rural retreat in out-of-the-way Malden Bridge, NY she acquired in March 2007, according to property records, for $1,350,00. The star-shaped residence’s original architect Dennis Wedlick was quickly commissioned by Miz Abramović and given 8 weeks and a quarter million dollars to “strip the house bare,” paint the ceilings white, refinish the wood floors, remove various columns that cluttered up the space and relocate the driveway to the rear of the residence because, according to Miz Abramović, “Americans like to park their cars in front of the house. This is unacceptable. A car should be parked out behind the barn.” It was her positive experience with Mister Wedlick in Malden Bridge that prompted her to re-hire the smart architect to, as mentioned above, re-work her downtown digs.
listing photos and floor plan: Sotheby’s International Realty