press release

NEW YORK, August 22, 2006--The Museum of Modern Art presents Out of Time: A Contemporary View, an exhibition that investigates the variety of ways that contemporary artists have expressed the experience of time in their work. Comprising some 50 works of art across a wide variety of mediums, the exhibition features large-scale video installations by such artists as Bill Viola and Jane and Louise Wilson, seminal installations by Gerhard Richter and Rachel Whiteread, paintings by Luc Tuymans and Gerhard Richter, and large-scale photographs and drawings by Rineke Dijkstra and Cai Guo-Qiang. International in scope, it recognizes the fluidity of artistic practice and meaning by presenting groupings of works rather than a chronological display. Although the exhibition touches on some of the major concerns and innovations of art of the last four decades, the majority of the works on view were made within the last 20 years; a number of key works from the 1960s and 1970s anticipate or offset more recent artistic developments. Out of Time is on view from August 30, 2006, through April 9, 2007, and is organized by Joachim Pissarro, Curator, Department of Painting & Sculpture, and Eva Respini, Assistant Curator, Department of Photography, in consultation with Luis Enrique Pérez-Oramas, Adjunct Curator, Department of Drawings, The Museum of Modern Art.

Out of Time is the most recent installation in the Museum’s second-floor galleries for contemporary art, a space that is reconfigured and reinstalled annually to show more of the Museum’s vast collection of contemporary art and to provide continuous opportunities to explore different viewpoints on the art of today. Significant recent acquisitions by such artists as Martin Creed, Rineke Dijkstra, Cai Guo-Qiang, Mona Hatoum, Shirazeh Houshiary, Cady Noland, and Luc Tuymans will be on view at MoMA for the first time in the exhibition.

Many contemporary artists have addressed concepts of the duration of time in their works: The wide variety of expressions of temporality displayed in Out of Time include the observation of the passage of time; marking, suspending, condensing, or elongating its flow; subjecting the creative process to time; developing narratives based on models of time; addressing history through memory of oppressions, displacements, and alienation; and considering how the past inflects the present.

In expressing their intentions for the exhibition, Ms. Respini and Mr. Pissarro have stated: “In our contemporary context of seemingly accelerated time, Out of Time examines how we understand time, how we remember the past, and how we experience the present-in the face of the daunting future.”

Passing Time At the entrance to the exhibition is a large projection of Andy Warhol’s film Empire (1964), a single stationary view of the Empire State Building. In this two-hour, 20-minute excerpt from the eight-hour original, the passage from daylight to darkness is the film’s narrative, while the protagonist is the iconic building that was (and is again) the tallest in New York City. Warhol (American, 1928-1987) lengthened Empire’s running time by projecting the film at a slower speed, thus making the progression to darkness almost imperceptible. According to Warhol, the point of this film-perhaps his most famous and influential cinematic work-is to “see time go by.” In conjunction with Out of Time, MoMA will present a film series in The Roy and Niuta Titus theaters that will include a screening of Warhol’s Empire in its entirety.

As part of a project documenting children of refugees, Rineke Dijkstra (Dutch, b. 1959) initially photographed Almerisa, a Bosnian girl whose family had relocated to Amsterdam, in 1994. She continued photographing her approximately every 18 months, making eight color photographs of her over an 11-year period. The images maintain a consistent compositional format, showing an isolated figure seated in distinct interior settings, looking incrementally more modern as time passes. Almerisa (1994-2005) documents the girl’s development from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood, and records her progression through cultural and geographic displacement, tracing the transformation of a young, Eastern European girl into a thoroughly assimilated modern teenager of Western Europe.

On view for the first time at MoMA is Martin Creed’s Work No. 227, The Lights Going On And Off (2000), a one-gallery installation in which lights installed in the ceiling turn on and off in intervals of five seconds. Creed (British, b. 1968) controls the fundamental conditions of visibility within the gallery and redirects the viewer’s attention to the bare walls, spaces that normally act as support and background for art objects. In this work, the gallery is a medium to be molded.

Time’s Impact on the Creative Process Some contemporary artists incorporate time into the act of making a work, subjecting the creative process to predetermined parameters. For his Blind Time XIII (1973), Robert Morris (American, b. 1931) allotted himself four minutes to compose a drawing of horizontal and vertical lines while blindfolded. William Anastasi (American, b. 1933) created 60 Minutes (1987), a pencil drawing mounted on canvas, in exactly one hour. On Kawara’s (Japanese, b. 1933) paintings from his Date series document the day that the painting was made. With white letters on a black background, the date on each work refers to the single day that the artist allotted himself to create each canvas, the only significance that each date bears.

A labor-intensive response to time can be seen in Janine Antoni’s Butterfly Kisses (1996-1999), for which Antoni (American, b. Bahamas, 1964) applied many coats of Cover Girl Thick Lash Mascara to her eyelashes and fluttered them against the paper, averaging 60 winks per day, completing the drawing after approximately 2,124 winks over several months.

Irrational Models of Time Two works in the exhibition, Bill Viola’s Stations (1994) and Pipilotti Rist’s Ever is Over All (1997), demonstrate ways in which video artists in particular are able to develop narratives based on cyclical, organic, or illogical models of time. The monumental installation by Viola (American, b. 1951) is on view on the East coast for the first time. Stations comprises five video projections, each displaying a nude figure suspended in water, accompanied by a lulling soundtrack of underwater gurgles. Floating head-down, the figures slowly drift in and out of the image frames. Polished slabs of granite placed at the foot of each screen provide reflections of the figures, which seem to be swimming in pools of black liquid. With neither an ending nor beginning, Stations is an invitation to meditate on the cycles of life, death, and rebirth.

Rist’s (Swiss, b. 1962) Ever Is Over All envelops viewers in two slow-motion projections on adjacent walls. In one, a roving camera focuses on red flowers in a field of lush vegetation. The spellbinding calm this imagery creates harmonizes with the projection to its left, which features a woman in sparkling ruby slippers promenading down a car-lined street. The fluidity of both scenes is disrupted when the woman violently begins smashing windshields with the long-stemmed flower she carries. As the vandal grows more exuberant with each gleeful strike of her wand, an approaching police officer smiles in approval, introducing comic tension into this whimsical and anarchistic scene.

Mona Hatoum’s large sculpture + & - (1994-2004), a recent acquisition, mechanizes the practices of mark-making and erasure. Hatoum replaces conventional artists’ tools with a motorized, toothed metal arm and a circular bed of sand. At a rate of five rotations per minute, the sculpture’s hypnotic and continual grooving and smoothing of sand evokes polarities of building and destroying, existence and disappearance, displacement and migration.

Time as a Repository of History and Memory Artists also create works that use memory as a lens through which to distill, reinterpret, or recall historical and political events, sometimes reworking images and text in the process.

Jane and Louise Wilson’s four-channel video installation Stasi City (1997) was filmed inside the abandoned headquarters of the defunct East German secret police-unofficially called Stasi City-a few years after the reunification of Germany. Images of the labyrinth of abandoned corridors, interrogation rooms, and open and closed doors are accompanied by a soundtrack of the clanging, buzzing, and clicking sounds that would have been emitted by surveillance equipment when police occupied the building. With this work the Wilson sisters (both British, b. 1967) have created an imprint of the haunting memories embedded in this architecture.

On the occasion of an exhibition celebrating African Americans in early photography at The J. Paul Getty Museum, Carrie Mae Weems (American, b. 1953) combed through the museum’s photography collection, selecting 19th- and 20th-century photographs of African and African American men and women dating from the days of slavery in the United States to the present. Weems then rephotographed the pictures, enlarged them, and toned them in red, creating a series of photographs entitled From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried (1995). Each photograph is framed under a sheet of glass inscribed with a text written by the artist and evokes the layers of prejudice imposed on the depicted men and women. Seventeen photographs from the series of 34 are included in this exhibition.

Kota Ezawa’s The Simpson Verdict (2002), a recent acquisition, is a single-channel DVD showing a three-minute digital animation of the television footage of O.J. Simpson in the courtroom as the jury foreman reads the verdict that ended one of the most infamous trials of the late 20th-century. Ezawa (German, b. 1969) uses the actual sound from the television broadcast, but renders Simpson and his lawyer, Johnnie Cochran, and all those present in the courtroom, in animation as the words of the verdict are being uttered, providing a grueling rendition of the tension that was filling the court room during those three minutes.

Luc Tuymans (Belgian, b. 1958) takes contemporary politics and historic events as a major preoccupation of his work. In The Secretary of State (2005), Tuymans utilizes the traditional genre of portraiture to depict current U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The scale of the painting and its tight cropping give a dramatic representation of Rice’s instantly recognizable facial features.

The 15 paintings comprising Gerhard Richter’s October 18, 1977 (1988) are based on police or press photographs of moments in the lives and deaths of members of the Red Army Faction (RAF), a German left-wing terrorist group that perpetrated a number of kidnappings and killings throughout the 1970s. Like On Kawara’s Date paintings, these paintings have a single date as their title: the date the bodies of principal RAF members were found in the cells of the prison where they were incarcerated. Richter‘s reworking of these documentary sources is dark, blurred, and diffuse, and questions the place of historical painting at the end of modernism.

Shirazeh Houshiary’s Breath (2003) comprises four digital animations on computer screens placed on the walls of a room. Each screen is a visualization of the imprint of the expanding and contracting of breath as a vocalist hums songs from four religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. The delicate organic forms that register the vocalist’s breath and the audible succession of chants envelop viewers, immersing them in the meditative chants from diverse cultures. On this recurrent theme in her work, Houshiary (British and Iranian, b. Iran, 1955) has stated that she set out to capture her breath in order to find the essence of transcending individual names, nationalities, and cultures.


Joachim Pissarro Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture Joachim Pissarro joined MoMA in 2003 as Curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture. He previously held curatorial positions at a number of prominent institutions, and served as an independent curator, professor, and author. As the Seymour H. Knox, Jr. Curator of European and Contemporary Art at the Yale University Art Gallery, from 1997 to 2000, Mr. Pissarro organized or co-organized exhibitions that include Jasper Johns’s Recent Paintings (with Richard Field and Gary Garrels, 2000); After looking at Chinese Rocks: Brice Marden: Work in Progress (1999); and Post-Modern Transgressions (1999) and presided over the reinstallation of the modern and contemporary collection at the Yale University Art Gallery. From 1994 to 1997, he served as Chief Curator at the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, where he coordinated (with guest curator Yve-Alain Bois) Matisse and Picasso: A Gentle Rivalry (1997). Mr. Pissarro’s most recent exhibition at MoMA was Pioneering Modern Painting: Cézanne and Pissarro, 1865-1885. Mr. Pissarro was educated at the Sorbonne in Paris and received a M. Phil in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute, London and a Ph D. in History of Art from the University of Texas at Austin.

Eva Respini Assistant Curator, Department of Photography Eva Respini joined the Museum in 1999 as Curatorial Assistant. She helped organize the collaborative exhibition Life of the City (2002), for which she was the recipient of the Museum’s Lee Tenenbaum Award. Ms. Respini has organized several exhibitions at MoMA, including Fashioning Fiction in Photography since 1990 (2004), as co-curator, Projects 81: Jean Shin (2004), and most recently,New Photography ’05: Carlos Garaicoa, Bertien van Manen, Phillip Pisciotta, Robin Rhode (2005). Ms. Respini holds a Master of Arts degree in Modern Art and Critical Theory and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History, both from Columbia University.


Out of Time: Contemporary Art from the Collection
Kuratoren: Joachim Pissarro, Eva Respini, Luis Enrique Perez-Oramas

mit William Anastasi, Janine Antoni, Martin Creed, Rineke Dijkstra, Kota Ezawa, Mona Hatoum, Shirazeh Houshiary, On Kawara, Robert Morris, Cady Noland, Cai Guo-Qiang, Gerhard Richter, Pipilotti Rist, Luc Tuymans, Bill Viola, Andy Warhol’, Carrie Mae Weems, Jane & Louise Wilson ...