The Modern Window

Zoë Paul

Sep 1, 2020–Jul 5, 2021

MoMA

Zöe Paul. The Land of the Lotus Eaters. 2018. Raku fired ceramic beads, nylon coated steel cable, brass, and silver, 860 × 340 × 1 cm. Courtesy the artist. Photo: William Morgan
  • MoMA, Floor 1, The Modern Window

Zoë Paul’s installations incorporate styles of picture-making from across history—ancient cave paintings, Byzantine iconography, classical Greek vases, as well as the digital pixels that compose virtual reality. The bead curtains that form her Modern Window installation, Shadows over the bright and darkened lands of the earth (2018/19), are made from thousands of handmade stoneware, terra cotta, and porcelain beads, and are partially inspired by the curtains hung in doorways in the Mediterranean, which allow easy flow between public and private spaces. Ambient light and the motion of passersby make the figures depicted by Paul’s curtains appear to come to life, with a kind of flickering that resembles early film animation. The beads serve a function similar to that of computer pixels, coalescing to produce a triptych of figures—in the artist’s words, a “celebratory, spiritual evocation of bodily representation, focusing on musculature, strength, dynamism, and the spiritually erotic.”

The Modern Window is a series of site-specific installations by contemporary artists commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art and designed for the exterior window of The Modern restaurant on West 53rd Street. Since 2008, artists including Korakrit Arunanondchai, assume vivid astro focus in collaboration with Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir, Xaviera Simmons, Mickalene Thomas, Andrea Zittel, and Firelei Báez have created installations that respond to and engage with the architecture of the window.

Organized by Jocelyn Miller, Assistant Curator, MoMA PS1.

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