Shahzia Sikander, Reckoning (2020), video still. Photo courtesy of Times Square Arts.
Featuring Video Works by Artists Shahzia Sikander (September), Anna Ridler (October), and Andrew Ondrejcak (November)
Times Square Arts, the largest public platform for contemporary performance and visual arts, is pleased to present their Midnight Moment Fall Season featuring digital works by multidisciplinary artists Shahzia Sikander (September), Anna Ridler (October), and Andrew Ondrejcak (November).
Midnight Moment is the world’s largest, longest-running digital art exhibition, synchronized on over 90 electronic billboards throughout Times Square nightly from 11:57pm to midnight. The Fall 2023 program showcases video works that touch on the cyclical struggle of creation and conflict; non-human ways of recording time; and reclaiming cultural narratives around gender identity through the power of film and fantasy.
Shahzia Sikander: Reckoning (2020)
Co-presented with The Armory Show and Sean Kelly Gallery
September 1-30, 2023 | Nightly 11:57pm-Midnight
Each night in September, Sikander’s video work Reckoning (2020) will be displayed across the 90+ electronic billboards of Times Square, offering a meditative moment amidst one of the busiest spaces in the city.
An intricate animation made from multiple layered drawings, Sikander’s Reckoning draws upon themes of creation, conflict, and connection, resulting in a cyclical struggle that the artist ultimately considers a restaging of an imaginary historical Indo-Persian-Turkish miniature painting. The work depicts a dramatic choreographed sequence of warrior-like figures entangled in joust, creating inflection points that embody a moment of reckoning. These fluid and perpetually fighting forms are set against an abstract flowering landscape, mirroring the conceptual, political and physical tensions that exist within broader global relationships, such as migrant and citizen, woman and power, human and nature.
Created in 2020, Reckoning was also a digital component of Sikander’s recent multimedia public art project Havah … to breathe, air, life commissioned by Madison Square Park Conservancy and on view in Madison Square Park and the nearby Courthouse of the Appellate Division, First Department of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. The multi-site project was commissioned by Madison Square Park Conservancy and Public Art of the University of Houston System, where it will be restaged in the fall of 2023.
Continuing to expand upon and draw new connections between this body of work, Sikander will also present an edition of the sculpture NOW (2023)––currently installed atop the roof of the New York State courthouse––in the Platform section of The Armory Show. Platform, curated by Eva Respini, Deputy Director and Director of Curatorial Programs at the Vancouver Art Gallery, will feature large-scale installations and site-specific works, staged at the center of the fair, that reexamine historical narratives.
NOW addresses inequality within the justice system by situating women in positions of power. In its context at the New York State courthouse, the sculpture is the first female figure to be installed among a group of nine male lawgivers including Confucius, Justinian, and Moses. Rising from the base of a lotus plant, a symbol of wisdom, the work conceptually and physically addresses gender stereotypes and draws attention to who historically wields power in our government.
Times Square Arts is a partnering organization in Armory Off-Site, the fair’s outdoor art program featuring large-scale artworks across New York City’s parks and public spaces. On Thursday, September 28th from 11:30pm-12am, Times Square Arts will host a special live musical performance to accompany Sikander’s Midnight Moment on the Broadway pedestrian plaza between 45th and 46th Streets. The performance features Pulitzer Prize winning Chinese-American composer Du Yun, Pakistani-American vocalist Zeb Bangash, and interdisciplinary artist eddy kwon.
The animation for Reckoning is by Patrick O’Rourke and an original score was created by Du Yun, both long-time collaborators of Sikander. The work marks Sikander’s second Midnight Moment, the first being Gopi-Contagion presented in October of 2015.
Anna Ridler: Circadian Nocturne (2023)
Co-presented with Meta
October 1-31, 2023 | Nightly 11:57pm-Midnight
Every midnight in October, artist Anna Ridler introduces a new kind of countdown clock in Times Square. Using complex algorithms to explore the natural world’s ways of keeping time, Ridler’s Midnight Moment Circadian Nocturne features AI-generated animations of night-blooming and night scented flora: queen of the night cactuses, the moonflower, night-blooming jasmine, night phlox, and evening stock. Painterly petals open slowly, blossoming into a dreamlike garden of nocturnal species — their chronobiological clocks set against the mechanical and digital structures that set the pace of our contemporary lives.
Created with artificial intelligence and a high-tech machine that can keep time at an atomic level, Circadian Nocturne also pairs modern, highly precise computerized timekeeping methods with the often unpredictable and imprecise imagery created by autonomous digital software and is part of an ongoing project exploring time and technology. Welcoming this tension, Ridler visually obscures tech-based accuracy with something more organic and in sync with the natural landscape.
“Unconsciously, time has been part of my projects for many years. Like value or money, it is a human system that has been imposed on the world that really shouldn’t make any sense. Time is inherently difficult to pin down. One of the things that I love is how, scientifically, there is no definition of “now” that everyone can agree on: there can be no objective thing as the present moment. It is beautiful and terrifying all at once. I suppose I do keep coming back to the natural world as a way of understanding time, something that I can see and experience.”
Accompanying the presentation of Circadian Nocturne in Times Square is an artist-designed mobile app (Android/iOS) where audiences can access a smaller, single screen version of the project and the original musical score by UK-based composer William Marsey. The app will synchronize with Riddler’s nightly Midnight Moments, activating between 11:57pm and 12am EST for the month of October, allowing anyone to have a small experience of the work, no matter where in the world.
Andrew Ondrejcak: Screen Test: Isabel
November 1-30, 2023 | Nightly 11:57pm-Midnight
Each night in November, artist and filmmaker Andrew Ondrejcak remixes cinematic history with Screen Test: Isabel. Staged as a series of screen tests, Trans actress and director Isabel Sandoval plays the starring role, shape-shifting through some of the most iconic films of the past century. Surpassing time and space, Sandoval embodies and reimagines archetypal roles from classic Hollywood films including Barbarella, A Clockwork Orange, and Marlena Dietrich’s 1930 film Morocco, which Ondrejcak notes was the first film ever to show a woman wearing men’s clothes and kissing another woman. Screen Test: Isabel uses film and fantasy to reclaim popular cultural narratives, subvert the conventions of gender roles, and explore the limitless identities and distinct complexities we all carry as individuals.
“We are curious about the process of discovering our authentic identity through the theatrical facade. Self-discovery is often influenced by society’s customs and pressures, which prescribe gender norms. We prefer a kaleidoscopic vision of identity, one in which the theatrical elements of hair, make-up and fashion are used as a form of self-discovery and, ultimately, liberation,” said artist Andrew Ondrejcak.
Screen Test: Isabel is a special edit of The Actress (2021), Isabel Sandoval & Andrew Ondrejcak’s first collaboration, which was commissioned by the Savannah College of Art and Design.
ABOUT SHAHZIA SIKANDER
Shahzia Sikander is a MacArthur prize-winning Pakistani-American visual artist working across a variety of mediums, including painting, animation, sculpture, mosaic and installation. She is widely celebrated for pioneering a contemporary interest in Central and South-Asian manuscript painting traditions and launching the form known today as neo-miniature. Sikander’s work since the mid-1990s has been pivotal in showcasing art of the South-Asian diaspora as a contemporary American tradition. Focusing on colonial and imperial archives, trade, empire and migration, Sikander’s practice takes a feminist perspective to expand narrow definitions around gender, sexuality, racial narratives and colonial histories.
Sikander received her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, has exhibited internationally and her work is in the collections of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Sharjah Art Foundation, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. She serves on the boards of Art21, RISD and IFA/NYU.
ABOUT THE ARMORY SHOW
The Armory Show is New York’s art fair. An essential part of the city’s cultural landscape since 1994, The Armory Show is a dedicated member of the art community and an active facilitator of discourse and exchange. The fair presents the world’s leading international galleries who showcase an array of modern and contemporary art and artists.
The Armory Show 2023 will launch the fall arts season and bring the international art world to New York at the Javits Center in September. The VIP Preview for the 2023 fair will take place on September 7, with the fair opening its doors to the public from September 8-10. For more information, visit thearmoryshow.com
ABOUT SEAN KELLY GALLERY
Since its inception in 1991, Sean Kelly Gallery has been internationally regarded for its diverse, intellectually driven program and a highly regarded roster of artists. The gallery has garnered international attention for its high caliber exhibition program and collaboration with many of the most significant cultural institutions around the world. Sean Kelly has continued to expand its program to include a new generation of exceptional contemporary artists. Over the course of more than thirty years, the Gallery has become a symbol for high quality, thought-provoking contemporary art and conversation.
ABOUT ANNA RIDLER
Based in London, Anna Ridler is an artist and researcher who works with systems of knowledge and how technologies are created in order to better understand the world. She is particularly interested in ideas around measurement and quantification and how this relates to the natural world. Her process often involves working with collections of information or data, particularly datasets, to create new and unusual narratives.
Ridler holds an MA in Information Experience Design from the Royal College of Art and a BA in English Literature and Language from Oxford University along with fellowships at the Creative Computing Institute at University of the Arts London. Her work has been exhibited at cultural institutions worldwide including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Barbican Centre, Centre Pompidou, HeK Basel, the ZKM Karlsruhe, Ars Electronica, Sheffield Documentary Festival and the Leverhulme Centre for Future Intelligence. She was a European Union EMAP fellow and the winner of the 2018-2019 DARE Art Prize. Ridler has received commissions by Salford University, the Photographers Gallery, Opera North, and Impakt Festival. She was listed as one of the nine “pioneering artists” exploring AI’s creative potential by Artnet and received an honorary mention in the 2019 Ars Electronica Golden Nica award for the category AI & Life Art. She was nominated for a “Beazley Designs of the Year” award in 2019 by the Design Museum for her work on datasets and categorization.
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ABOUT ANDREW ONDREJCAK
Andrew Ondrejcak writes, directs and designs works for theater, opera and film. His works link art history with contemporary iconography, often putting a queer perspective on a classical form. Born and raised in Mississippi, Ondrejcak studied architecture and painting at Savannah College of Art and Design and, later, playwriting at Brooklyn College under Mac Wellman and Vito Acconci. His work with experimental theater led him to a career in art direction and production design in the fashion industry where he became known for bold, large-scale environmental installations. Ondrejcak has collaborated with artists including Tilda Swinton, Isabella Rossellini, Vivienne Westwood, James Franco, The National, Shepherd Fairey, Rufus Wainwright, Kyle Abraham. Andrew’s theatrical works have been presented at REDCAT, Los Angeles; Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans; deSingel International Arts Campus, Antwerp; Holland Festival, Amsterdam; The Kampnagel, Hamburg; and in New York at The Kitchen, BAM Harvey Theater, The Public Theater in Under the Radar Festival and the Guggenheim Museum’s Works in Process as curated by Robert Wilson. He has been the creative director of special projects for Hermes, Vivienne Westwood, 3.1 Phillip Lim, New York and Shanghai Fashion Weeks, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Vogue Italia, among others. For a decade, he was a lecturer at the Museum of Modern Art.
ABOUT ISABEL SANDOVAL
Isabel Sandoval is an accomplished filmmaker who wrote, directed, edited and starred in the films Señorita, Aparisyon, Lingua Franca. Her films can be seen on the Criterion Collection and Netflix. She skillfully weaves together Catholic mysticism and Filipino history with transgender and immigrant experiences. With the film Lingua Franca, Sandoval became the first out trans woman of color to compete at the Venice Film Festival.
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 Charles Gaines, Joan Jonas, Jeffrey Gibson, Pamela Council, Mel Chin and Kehinde Wiley, to help the public see Times Square in new ways. Times Square has always been a cultural district and place of risk, innovation and creativity, and the arts program ensures these qualities remain central to the district’s unique identity.