Yes, there is a VIPs list for MoMA’s “The Artist is Present” to sit with Marina Abramović. And if you don’t get there before the museum opens to stand in line, chances of sitting are slim and random. In fact, it’s a mob scene.
There’s much scrambling before the doors open at 9:30am, more in the lobby, more at the stairs before 10:30am. Advice: be strategically polite and very speedy (without running). Otherwise, by the time you’re in line by Marina Abramović’s perimeter, you will get pushed back and you won’t get to sit. If this particular thing is important to you, then you should probably make a day of it. The hassle/hustle is worth it, but this obviously isn’t for everyone. The sitting itself is not essential to experiencing the exhibit; it’s the centerpiece.
Contrary to the Gothamist commenters huffing and puffing about VIPs, most of the hassle involved isn’t because there’s a small queue of people already at the spot when you get there. “Elitism” isn’t novel. Personally, sure, it’s a bit upsetting (though I rather be cut in line by Lou Reed than James Franco; who the hell is James Franco?). Regardless, the so-called VIPs (some are noted contemporary artists or connected else-wise) don’t usually sit too long. Lou Reed sat for 9 minutes. Rufus Wainwright sat for 8 minutes. The rest of us can sit for however long we want. You never know if the person ahead of you will lose the concept of time and sit there for hours. People have sat all day.
That’s just the nature of the piece. When you’re sitting there, if it is your sort of thing, the experience is personally unique and often indescribable, and it’s only the guilt over the anxious queue behind you that makes you leave. The frustrations, murmur, hype and celebrity nonsense around it are unavoidable and inconvenient, but the way I look at it, it’s exposure. Anything that can draw in whatever segment of people end up seeing the exhibit upstairs — and be truly affected by it — is worth it.
The retrospective show on 6th floor of the MoMA is meticulously organized and well-planned. The re-creationist performers don’t feel like living museum pieces, instead, they charge the surrounding projections and artifacts into being. Captions are essential. It’s a perfect introduction to performance art and a fully successful compilation of one artist’s work. If that’s your cup of tea, go chug it. If not, whatever.