Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present

Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York, New York, 2010


Project brief: Marina Abramović wanted to convey the strength, dedication and history of her career through a strong identity. Her museum retrospective was capped with a performance in the museum’s atrium in which the artist sat, unmoved, with the public for more than 300 hours.

Approach: We addressed this brief by diving into the artist’s work as much as we could. We also had many meetings with the artist to discuss typefaces, tone and her work in general. We began by creating a custom typeface for all the show’s materials in order to achieve a level of freshness and curiosity that would not overwhelm the content of the show (as if a typeface could ever distract you from live, unclothed performers in a museum setting). Instead of a website chronicling the artist’s career, we took the title of the show, The Artist Is Present, as literally as it was intended and decided to set up a live feed of the entire exhibition.

Effectiveness: The custom lettering for the show’s identity was important to the overall design. This helped us create a simple but recognizable look for all materials and not distract attention from the work. We brought even more attention to the work by setting up a live-feed camera for the duration of the three-month performance. This helped a much wider audience connect with the piece within the museum’s walls and provided imagery for broader media coverage and spin-off websites.

Juror Notes

Brilliant audience engagement both in the gallery and throughout the world with smart social-media strategy.

Collections: AIGA 365: Design Effectiveness (2011)
Repository: Denver Art Museum
Discipline: Environmental graphic design
Format: Exhibit