Marta Minujín. Photo courtesy of the artist.
The Argentinian 80 Year Old Conceptual Pop Artist’s “Sculpture of Dreams” Marks Times Square’s Largest Installation To Date
Times Square Arts and the Jewish Museum are pleased to present Sculpture of Dreams by legendary Argentinian conceptual artist Marta Minujín. The large-scale inflatable sculpture is the artist’s first public sculpture in New York City and one of the largest art installations hosted in Times Square to date. The work will be unveiled on November 8 at 11am and remain on view in Times Square until November 21, 2023, in conjunction with Minujín’s major survey exhibition Marta Minujín: Arte! Arte! Arte! on view at The Jewish Museum beginning November 17.
“Times Square is the biggest Pop scene of all time. For me, it’s like being Alice in Wonderland,” said Marta Minujín. “My Sculpture of Dreams – a flying, inflatable, soft sculpture – will be surrounded by lights, videos, and people from all over the world who come to see the attractions. It’s the perfect place for this work, I love it!”
A defining force of Latin American art in the postwar period, Marta Minujín has engaged with popular culture to subvert the formal conventions of art over the course of her six-decade career, cementing herself in the Latin and global canons of modern art with her singular intellect, irreverence, and presence. Her Times Square installation represents the latest evolution in a career defined by innovative, boundary-pushing artistic ventures, eschewing lasting objects in favor of whimsical conceptual projects: performances with horses, motorcycles, and chickens, sculptures made out of cheese, and towers of banned books. She once proposed making a giant Statue of Liberty out of McDonald’s hamburgers.“In spirit, style, and artistic practice, Marta Minujín might be more Times Square than Times Square itself,” says Times Square Arts Director Jean Cooney, “I can’t imagine a more fitting place to have her present such a buoyant and spectacular intervention about dreams and desire.”
Minujín calls Sculpture of Dreams an”‘anti-sculpture,” in a playful reference to the inflatable work’s subversive materiality: edgeless, soft, quite literally full of air. Towering at over 30 feet tall, Minujín’s 16-piece inflatable will both channel and challenge the multi-sensory landscape of Times Square. The visually engaging work also hosts an immersive experience—visitors will be invited to walk through the interior of the sculpture where they’ll be enveloped in a rush of converging colors and greeted with a chorus of recorded birdsong. As the work is designed to both embody and receive our dreams and desires, visitors will also be prompted to whisper their hopes and dreams into the cavernous interior before exiting.
Minujín’s installation in Times Square will coincide with the artist’s first survey exhibition in the United States, opening at the Jewish Museum this fall. Marta Minujín: Arte! Arte! Arte! will reflect the genre-defying arc of the artist’s six-decade career, including nearly 100 works drawn from the artist’s archives as well as private and institutional collections. Reflecting a singular spirit and vision infused by Minujín’s sharp intellect, irreverent humor, and performative presence, the exhibition will chart her influential career in Buenos Aires as well as time spent in Paris, New York, and Washington, DC, through a range of pioneering, mattress-based soft sculptures; fluorescent large-scale paintings; psychedelic drawings and performances; and vintage film footage. The artist’s monumental public art will be presented through rarely-seen photographs, video, and other documentation.
Marta Minujín: Arte! Arte! Arte! is organized by Darsie Alexander, Senior Deputy Director and Susan & Elihu Rose Chief Curator, and Rebecca Shaykin, Associate Curator, at the Jewish Museum. Darsie Alexander says that Minujín’s Sculpture of Dreams is “an exuberant artwork, part balloon, part kite, and part blow-up mattress. Minujín has been producing works that cut against the stylistic grain of the art world for much of her career, embracing the effects of social disruption as well as creating spaces for unification, playfulness, and even intimacy. This ambitious sculpture is no exception.”
“This is a rare opportunity to experience Minujín’s fluorescent spirit on a monumental scale – those who crave immersive, multi-sensory encounters with art will not be disappointed,” says Jewish Museum Associate Curator Rebecca Shaykin.Iterations of Sculpture of Dreams have been presented in Argentina, Peru, and Brazil. The Times Square exhibition will mark the work’s North American debut.
Sculpture of Dreams is commissioned by Times Square Arts and presented in partnership with the Jewish Museum.
ABOUT MARTA MINUJÍN
Over the past sixty years, Marta Minujín has developed happenings, performances, installations, and video works that have influenced generations of contemporary artists in Latin America and beyond. Combining elements of experimental theater, film and television, advertising, and sculpture, Minujín creates total environments that place viewers at the center of social situations and confront them with the seductiveness of media images and celebrity culture. Notably, she has often refused to create lasting objects, opting instead to develop her work in opposition to institutional structures, simultaneously crafting monumental yet fragile works that challenge art conventions and testify to her unwavering commitment to radical artistic forms and the artifices of popular culture. Minujín’s ability to inspire awe, joy, and surprise has firmly established her as a celebrated pioneer of Latin American conceptual art.
Minujín studied at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes Manuel Belgrano and the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes Prilidiano Pueyrredón Buenos Aires. She carried out her first performance, La destrucción (The Destruction), in Paris in 1963. Returning to Buenos Aires in 1964, she was awarded the Premio Nacional Instituto Torcuato Di Tella for the work ¡Revuélquese y viva! (Roll Around and Live!), her first interactive installation. Minujín received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1966. During the 1970s, she lived between the United States and Argentina, exhibiting her work in major institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1973), and Centro de Arte y Comunicación, Buenos Aires (1975, 1976). A major retrospective of Minujín’s work was presented at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (2010), and her work has been included in documenta 14, Kassel (2017), and in exhibitions at Tate Modern, London (2015); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2015); Haus der Kunst, München (2023); and elsewhere. Her first survey exhibition in the United States, Marta Minujín: Arte! Arte! Arte!, will be on view from November 17, 2023 through March 31, 2024 at the Jewish Museum, New York.
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.
ABOUT THE JEWISH MUSEUM
The Jewish Museum is an art museum committed to illuminating the complexity and vibrancy of Jewish culture for a global audience. Located on New York City’s famed Museum Mile, in the landmarked Warburg mansion, the Jewish Museum was the first institution of its kind in the United States and is one of the oldest Jewish museums in the world. The Museum offers diverse exhibitions and programs and maintains a unique collection of nearly 30,000 works of art, ceremonial objects, and media reflecting the global Jewish experience over more than 4,000 years. The public may call 212.423.3200 or visit TheJewishMuseum.org for more information.