If the Thanksgiving holiday might most strongly unite Americans as a “nation of immigrants”, it is fitting we might return at the end of the weekend to find art by installation/filmaker Isaac Julien in two prominent locations: In the atrium at the Museum of Modern Art, on multiple screens variously directed to be seen fully only from divergent vantage points, Ten Thousand Waves tells of the real plight of 23 Chinese migrants attempting to find a home in the UK. A few blocks away in Times Square, displayed across seventeen! billboards for a brief 3 minutes before midnight each day, is Playtime, another story, this time a fiction, featuring actors James Franco and Maggie Cheung, with a distant if related theme, the individual’s unquenchable aspiration for a better life, and the disillusionment he often finds instead.
Not necessarily chipper stuff – but some compellingly beautiful images, and perhaps a suitably sober – if still glossy – punctuation of the festival season.
Modern: Nov 25, 2013–Feb 17, 2014
Times Sq: Dec 1-30, 2013, 11:57 p.m. – midnight