press release

NEW YORK, JUNE 2002––The Museum of Modern Art presents Projects 76: Francis Alÿs at MoMA QNS, a commissioned installation that is comprised of a video of his recent ceremonial procession commemorating MoMA’s move from midtown Manhattan to Long Island City, Queens. The video is shown with a group of the artist’s photographs and drawings from the event. Projects 76: Francis Alÿs, on view from June 29 to September 16, 2002, is collaboratively sponsored by MoMA and the Public Art Fund and is organized by Harper Montgomery, Assistant Curator, Department of Prints and Illustrated Books, The Museum of Modern Art. The Projects series is organized by Laurence Kardish, Senior Curator, Department of Film and Media.

The procession took place on June 23, beginning at MoMA’s midtown location at 11 West 53 Street and moving across the Queensboro Bridge, up Queens Boulevard to MoMA QNS on 33 Street. Participants in the procession carried palanquins holding representations of works in the Museum’s collection by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, and Alberto Giacometti. The event—with its rose petal-strewn route and brass band—had the feel of a religious procession, like the one in Little Italy’s famous annual San Gennaro festival.

“Francis Alÿs has responded to this moment of transition for the museum by devising a timely and provocative performance,” said Ms. Montgomery. “With this piece, he has encouraged us all to reflect fondly on our relationships with modern icons and to find mystical meaning in unexpected contexts.”

For Alÿs, the street is a site of invigorating possibility and confluence, a space where the complexity of popular life collides and interacts with the practice of making art. Since 1991, going on paseos (walks) has been the centerpiece of Alÿs’s artistic practice, and the urban streets, especially those of Mexico City, have been his primary context. His works in various mediums are born out of these walks, during which he often carries a prop and adheres to a whimsical route or pattern of behavior. He records his path and the results of his walk, collects artifacts, and stores images, all of which he later uses in his drawings and paintings.

Francis Alÿs
Projects 76
Kurator: Harper Montgomery