MoMA PS1, Long Island City

MoMA PS1 | 22-25 Jackson Ave. at 46 Ave., Queens
NY 11101 Long Island City

plan route show map

artists & participants

press release

(Long Island City, NY, July, 2004) – P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center is proud to present the New York debut of The Big Umbrella, a recent, ongoing project by New York-based artist and Swedish citizen Aleksandra Mir (b. 1967 Lubin, Poland).

For The Big Umbrella, a performance-based work, Mir walked city streets and invited people to stand under her specially manufactured umbrella, which, at 240 x 160 cm x 160 cm high, is twice the size of the biggest umbrella found on the market and can shield up to 16 people simultaneously. Conceived for locations where it rains often, Mir addresses city-dwellers’ relationship to the uncontrollable force of weather.

Aleksandra Mir’s work prompts multiple interpretations and records various perceptions from different vantage points. Often tied to a specific happening in a particular location, her projects stress how individuals are interconnected and also how they bend to environmental boundaries. Uniting people by providing them with an opportunity to share a surreal and extraordinary experience, Mir creates a welcome space for life and art to exist simultaneously.

For P.S.1, Aleksandra Mir selected sites around New York City that reflect the dynamic spontaneity of the bustling metropolis. Depicting specific situations and interactions, Mir’s photographic sequences reflect both the incredible energy and diversity in New York City and record the current political climate. The Big Umbrella itself is also on view as a freestanding object on the floor, kept wet with a spray of water every day during the show, as if it was just brought in from the rain. The exhibition acts as sculpture, performance, prop, photography, and most effectively, as a record of its surroundings, namely, New York City. The Big Umbrella originated at Jousse enterprise in Paris in 2003. Later that year, a London chapter was presented at the Serpentine Gallery as part of a group exhibition, State of Play. In 2004, a selection of related photographs taken in Copenhagen and Dresden were presented at Art Statements, Basel.

Aleksandra Mir lives and works in New York. Selected solo shows and projects include: The World from Above, Greengrassi, London (2004); Naming Tokyo (part III), ICA, Philadelphia (2004); Happy Holidays, The Wrong Gallery, New York (2003); Naming Tokyo (part II), Swiss Institute, New York (2003); Plane Landing, Compton Verney House Trust, Warwickshire (2003); Welcome back to Earth, Kunsthalle St. Gallen, St Gallen (2003); HELLO Ringier, Ringier annual report, Zurich (2003); Daily News, Gavin Brown's enterprise, New York / Greengrassi, London (2002); HELLO Bern, Galeria Francesca Pia, Bern (2002) and First Woman on the Moon, Casco Projects, Utrecht (1999).


Aleksandra Mir: The Big Umbrella The New York Series
in collaboration with Chris Verene
Kurator Amy Smith-Stewart