Times Square Arts Presents ZERO NUKES, a Large-Scale Sculpture by Artist Pedro Reyes and Call to Action to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons
This May, Times Square Arts presents Amnesia Atómica NYC, a public exposition centered around artist Pedro Reyes’s ZERO NUKES, a 30-foot-tall inflatable sculpture that will function as a beacon to bring experts, political leaders, and engaged citizens together to address nuclear threat. On view in Times Square from May 17 – May 24, 2022, the sculpture will serve as a central platform for a series of public programs and events designed to spotlight the voices of activists, artists, scientists, and community organizations in the anti-nuclear field, and drive conversations around non-proliferation and disarmament. Amnesia Atómica is curated by Pedro Alonzo, who specializes in ambitious artworks in public spaces.
ZERO NUKES is the centerpiece of Amnesia Atómica, commissioned by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which focuses on three main areas—nuclear risk, climate change, and disruptive technologies—and equips the public, policymakers, and scientists with the information needed to reduce man-made threats to our existence. ZERO NUKES focuses on the “zero” as a graphic, visual, and conceptual element common to all languages. The structure stands as a symbol of global unity for a single non-controversial cause: to avoid the destruction of life on earth.
“We commissioned Pedro Reyes to create an artwork that engages with the growing threat of nuclear conflict. Amnesia Atómica is his response,” says Rachel Bronson, President and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. “Events in Ukraine are a stark reminder that nuclear weapons continue to threaten humanity on a daily basis. ZERO NUKES is Pedro’s latest contribution to this collection.”
Amnesia Atómica holds a topical urgency and warning as nuclear weapons states around the world are investing in ways that are making these weapons more rather than less usable. The project will feature a two-day expo on May 19 and 20 showcasing artists, organizers, and organizations offering hands-on activities, a VR experience, information booths, and merchandise to engage the hundreds of thousands of visitors who pass through Times Square weekly. Public programs will be led by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and will include experts from organizations in the field, such as the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, a global coalition focused on mobilizing civil society around the world to support the specific objective of prohibiting and eliminating nuclear weapons; The Tank, a Manhattan-based non-profit arts presenter and producer serving emerging artists; Games of Change, an organization that supports using games for social change; Global Zero an international movement dedicated to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons; and Union of Concerned Scientists, a science advocacy group dedicated to solving the world’s most pressing problems.
“There is no better public platform than Times Square to host a diversity of viewpoints and in turn, open minds and encourage a better understanding of the complexities around the most pressing issues of our day,” says Tom Harris, Times Square Alliance President.
“Times Square has a rich cultural history as an epicenter of protest and a platform that elevates a chorus of voices of our era,” says Times Square Arts Director Jean Cooney. “We are thrilled to turn this platform over to a range of artists confronting the most important topics of our times, such as Pedro Reyes and the issue of nuclear disarmament.”
Times Square Arts will unveil Pedro Reyes’ ZERO NUKES, on Tuesday, May 17th at 1:30pm. If you are interested in covering or attending the unveiling, please email Ali Rigo (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Public Unveiling, Tuesday May 17th at 1:30pm (Duffy Square)
1:30pm — Remarks from Times Square Alliance
1:45pm — Remarks from Mitchie Takeuchi, Producer “The Vow From Hiroshima,” Not Just A Survivor Film LLC. Mitchie will share her experiences as a second-generation Hiroshima survivor, her father having served the Red Cross in Hiroshima before and after the bombing.
1:50pm — Beatrice Finn, who received the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of ICAN, will speak about the immediacy of nuclear threats. ICAN NYC will be part of the Mobilization Expo, hosted by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on Thursday and Friday to share what New Yorkers can do.
1:55pm — Remarks from Pedro Reyes, artist of Zero Nukes
2:00pm — Adjourn; Performance produced by The Tank
Partner organizations dedicated to reducing nuclear weapons will host information sessions, public displays, and hands-on activities to encourage public engagement and mobilization. Participating organizations include: B(L)OOM; Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists; Das Bombe; Games for Change; Global Zero’s Bomb Squad; Horizon 2045; ICAN; NYCAN; PATH Collective; Reverse the Trend; #StopInvestingInDestruction; Union of Concerned Scientists; among others.
Thursday, May 19, 12pm-8pm
Friday, May 20, 12pm-8pm
ZERO NUKES: Performance Series
ZERO NUKES is a series of anti-nuclear performances curated and produced by Meghan Finn, Artistic Director of The Tank, a Manhattan-based non-profit arts presenter and producer serving emerging artists. The series is part of The Tank’s outdoor series, Open Air Tank. Emerging artists will perform storytelling, hip hop and spoken word in Times Square beneath the mushroom cloud. Musical performers include Miriam Pultro, Questa Music, Elyse Durand, Baba Israel and Grace Galu of Soul Inscribed, Sarah Cagianese of Frances Rose, and Doll Parts. Performance and spoken word artists include b>Gabriel G Torres, Paige Cowen, David Trevor Lawson, Kev Berry, Carol Maz, Ben Firke, Emma Gomez, and Hunter Gause.
Tuesday, May 17, 2-4 pm- following the unveiling
Wednesday, May 18, 2-4pm
Thursday, May 19, 2-4pm
Friday, May 20, 2-4pm
Monday, May 23, 2-4pm
Artists Against the Bomb
A collection of urgent messages calling for universal nuclear disarmament. The campaign is an international effort by artists, writers and activists who, through words and pictures, call for a reduction of the world’s nuclear weapons down to zero. The effort is designed to support disarmament organizations across the globe.
A new participatory work by Pedro Reyes where 12,075 rocket shaped balloons——equivalent to the total estimated number of global nuclear weapons—will be handed out to the public throughout the event. The balloons are a limited edition artwork that will be given to participants upon posting an image of ZERO NUKES on social media with the hashtags #ZERONUKES and #AmnesiaAtómica or upon following a participating organization such as the Bulletin.
Daily Handout, 4pm
Virtual Reality: On the Morning You Wake (to the end of the world)
Games for Change will showcase “On the Morning You Wake (to the End of the World),” a virtual reality experience that uses innovative documentary storytelling and virtual production techniques to viscerally recreate the lived experiences of people of Hawaii, who, for 38 minutes, had to react during a false alert in January 2018. Learn more about the project here.
On the Morning You Wake (to the End of the World) Schedule:
Time: 12pm-8pm, May 19 and 20
1560 Broadway, Suite 901
New York, NY 10036
Due to construction, entrance at 165 W. 46th Street
The project will consist of a QR code leading to information that guides the public in how to get involved, including clear ideas on how to take action, reach your representative, and find organizations to follow. Join local and international efforts to reduce nuclear dangers, discuss current events with experts, connect with various education and advocacy organizations, and post your concerns to social media. You can even cast your vote to share what time you think it should be on the Bulletin’s iconic Doomsday Clock. Also, feel free to tag and follow Times Square Arts’ Instagram account (@tsqarts) to get involved.
The kiosk operated by public art ambassadors will feature an assortment of information as well as merchandise available for the public to buy such as shirts, hats, and buttons. The graphics on the kiosk designed by Pedro Reyes will prominently display the ZERO NUKES imagery. Any net proceeds will go towards traveling the cloud in support of other disarmament-based events.
Frieze New York Art Fair
Amnesia Atómica will be presented in collaboration with Frieze New York from May 18-22. Frieze will feature two booths dedicated to Amnesia Atómica, one designated for a historical archive featuring contributions to the disarmament movement by artists and activists in the 20th century; and the other an installation of imagery and merchandise from the ZERO NUKES campaign. One of the two booths will also feature Pedro Reyes’ limited edition interactive artwork Stockpile.
ABOUT AMNESIA ATÓMICA
Amnesia Atómica opened in Mexico City in 2020 to raise public awareness, revitalize the once vibrant anti-nuclear community, and most importantly, put pressure on political leaders, policymakers, and global citizens by informing them of the consequences of inaction. It included an early version of ZERO NUKES, a locally curated dance performance, and presentations by leading dignitaries. The artist aims to draw attention to the issues of nuclear threat and the failure of experts and leaders to contain it. The title, Amnesia Atómica, urges visitors to not forget or ignore the global issues at hand and engage first-hand with solutions-oriented thinking and strategies. Inspiration for Amnesia Atómica was sparked at an incubator created by N Square, a network of innovators committed to ending the nuclear threat.
“It is exactly because of what we are confronting around the world today that I created this piece. I’m hoping to provide an invitation for people who want to get engaged, learn from others, connect and create a safer future. I’m trying to provide a megaphone for the disparate voices committed to abolishing nuclear weapons. I’m trying to provide answers for those asking ‘what can I do?,’” says Pedro Reyes.
“Artists like Pedro Reyes can play an important role in revitalizing the disarmament community. While ZERO NUKES sends a clear multilingual message in support of the disarmament movement, Amnesia Atómica is a symbol of the consequences of inaction,” says curator Pedro Alonzo.
Reyes has garnered international acclaim for large-scale projects that explore current social and political issues, through the use of mediums like sculpture, performance, video, and activism. His work tends to investigate the power of individual and collective organization to incite change through communication, creativity, happiness, and humor, making Times Square an ideal locale for his project, as an epicenter of both protest and kitsch. New York City was also the center of the 1982 Rally for Nuclear Disarmament, making a return to the city generations later a fitting representation of the timelessness of nuclear instability.
Reyes is working with experts in the nuclear realm on the project, including the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, among others.
Supporters of the project include the Bancel Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, N Square, Abakanowicz Arts and Culture Charitable Foundation, David Rockefeller Fund, The Prospect Hill Foundation, Lisa Tung and Spencer Glendon, Miner / Nagy Family.
ABOUT PEDRO REYES
Reyes (b. 1972, Mexico City) lives and works in Mexico City. He has won international attention for large-scale projects that address current social and political issues. Through a varied practice utilizing sculpture, performance, video, and activism, Reyes explores the power of individual and collective organization to incite change through communication, creativity, happiness, and humor.He studied architecture at the Ibero-American University in Mexico City. Solo exhibitions have been held with Museum Tinguely, Basel, Switzerland (2020); SCAD, Georgia, USA (2019); Creative Time, New York, USA (2016); Dallas Contemporary, TX, USA (2016); La Tallera, Cuernavaca, Mexico (2016); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA, USA (2015); ICA, Miami, FL, USA (2014); The Power Plant, Toronto, Canada (2014); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, USA (2011); Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY, USA (2011); CCA Kitakyushu, Japan (2009); Bass Museum, Miami, FL, USA (2008;) and San Francisco Art Institute, CA, USA (2008). Reyes has participated in group exhibitions at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan (2015); The National Museum of XXI Century Arts (MAXXI), Rome (2015); Beijing Biennale, China (2014); Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2013); dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2012); Liverpool Biennial, UK (2012); Gwangju Biennial, South Korea (2012); Lyon Biennale, France (2009); and the 50th Venice Biennale, Italy (2003). In Fall 2016, Reyes served as the inaugural Dasha Zhukova Distinguished Visiting Artist at MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
ABOUT PEDRO ALONZO
Pedro Alonzo is a Boston-based independent curator. He is currently an Adjunct Curator at Dallas Contemporary. Since 2006 he has specialized in producing exhibitions that transcend the boundaries of museum walls and spill out into the urban landscape, addressing audiences beyond the traditional museum public. In 2017 he formalized his practice by establishing A&C. At the ICA Boston, he curated Shepard Fairey’s 20-year survey, Supply, and Demand. For the MCA San Diego, he organized the group exhibition Viva la Revolución: A Dialogue with the Urban Landscape, which featured site-specific works inside the museum and throughout downtown San Diego. In 2015 Alonzo began to develop exhibitions designed to engage the public, starting with a citywide exhibition in Philadelphia, Open Source: Engaging Audiences in Public Space, followed by working with JR to place a gigantic image of a Mexican child named Kikito, overlooking the US/México border wall in Tecate. Since 2016 Alonzo has worked with The Trustees, Massachusetts’s largest conservation and preservation non-profit, to launch and curate the organization’s first Art and the Landscape initiative, resulting in site-specific commissions created by the artists: Sam Durant (2016), Jeppe Hein (2016), Alicja Kwade (2018), and Doug Aitken (2019). In 2019, Pedro Alonzo worked with Now + There as guest curator for Oscar Tuazon’s Growth Rings and in 2020 for Jose Dávila’s To Each Era Its Art. To Art, Its Freedom. for Central Wharf Park in Boston. The most recent project he developed at Dallas Contemporary was a major exhibition that brought together rarely seen works by Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara.
ABOUT THE BULLETIN OF THE ATOMIC SCIENTISTS
The Bulletin equips the public, policy makers and scientists with the information needed to reduce man-made threats to our existence. At its core, it is a media organization, publishing a free-access website and a bimonthly magazine. But it is much more. The Bulletin’s website, iconic Doomsday Clock, and regular events draw attention to three main areas: nuclear risk, climate change, and disruptive technologies. What connects these is a driving belief that because humans created them, we can control them. The Bulletin is an independent, nonprofit 501 c (3) organization founded by Manhattan Project scientists nearly 75 years ago. It gathers the most informed and influential thought leaders tracking man-made threats and brings innovative thinking to a global audience. The Bulletin applies intellectual rigor to the conversation and does not shrink from alarming truths.
The Bulletin’s iconic Doomsday Clock uses the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero) to convey threats to humanity and the planet. It is currently set at 100 seconds to midnight, the closest it’s ever been to midnight. The Clock is set every year by the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 11 Nobel laureates. The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and disruptive technologies.
ABOUT TIMES SQUARE ARTS
Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance, collaborates with contemporary artists and cultural institutions to experiment and engage with one of the world’s most iconic urban places. Through the Square’s electronic billboards, public plazas, vacant areas and popular venues, and the Alliance’s own online landscape, Times Square Arts invites leading contemporary creators, such as Mel Chin, Tracey Emin, Jeffrey Gibson, Ryan McGinley, Yoko Ono, and Kehinde Wiley, to help the public see Times Square in new ways. Times Square has always been a place of risk, innovation and creativity, and the Arts Program ensures these qualities remain central to the district’s unique identity.