Meriem Bennani and Orian Barki, still from 2 Lizards, 2020. Video, color, sound; 22:43 min. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Chemla Family 2021.91. © Meriem Bennani and Orian Barki
Sept 30, 2022–Feb 2023
2 Lizards, a film by artists Meriem Bennani (b. 1988, Rabat, Morocco; lives and works in New York, NY) and Orian Barki (b. 1985, Israel; lives and works in New York, NY), depicts a surrealist view of the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic as it unfolded in New York City. In the film, two animated anthropomorphized lizards serve as protagonists, moving through a city gripped by a pandemic, extended isolation, and cries for social justice reform. It highlights the helplessness and uncertainty experienced by many at the time, as well as the unexpected moments of shared community and connection. Originally released as an eight-part episodic series on Bennani’s Instagram account, the Whitney’s presentation of 2 Lizards is its first institutional screening as a narrative film.
This installation is organized by Rujeko Hockley, Arnhold Associate Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art.