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PR- 260-06
July 25, 2006


Artist Doug Aitken's First Free Public Work in the United States Expected to Attract Thousands During the Winter Tourism Season

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced that the first major public art project by artist Doug Aitken to be presented in the United States will be projected on the façades of The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in Winter 2007.  The project, which will envelop MoMA's building with continuous sequences of film scenes, was jointly commissioned by MoMA and Creative Time, a New York-based public art organization.  The images will be projected on the 53rd and 54th Street façades and those overlooking the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, as well as on the west wall of The American Museum of Folk Art.  The project, filmed entirely in New York City, will be shown daily from January 16 through February 12, 2007, from dusk until 10:00 p.m., and will be visible from many public vantage points adjacent to the Museum.  As with past public art projects, this new endeavor is expected to attract countless visitors to New York City, part of the City's ongoing effort to fulfill the Mayor's January 2006 State of the City pledge to achieve the goal of attracting 50 million visitors annually by the year 2015.  First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris, NYC & Company President & CEO Cristyne L. Nicholas, Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin, Museum of Modern Art Director Glenn D. Lowry, Creative Time President and Artistic Director Anne Pasternak and artist Doug Aitken attended the announcement at MOMA. 

"Public art projects provoke thought, create conversation and community, and cause us to look at our environment and our lives in new ways," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "We've seen great art bring people out of hibernation, and so our Administration has always looked for bold initiatives in the winter months, when tourism is at its slowest, to attract visitors to our City.  Doug Aitken's project is certain to be the kind of exciting artistic event that will do just that and it is this kind of imaginative marketing of our City that has helped bring our economy back."

"In the midst of New York City's rich cultural season, MoMA and Creative Time's new large scale public art project will be a centerpiece of New York City's winter celebrations," said NYC & Company's Cristyne Nicholas.  "The arts and culture community is a vital component of the City's $23 billion tourism industry; last year, a record 18.9 million visitors included a cultural destination on their New York itinerary, an increase of 10% over the previous year.  Unique events like this raise New York's profile as a premier cultural destination and drive visitor volume and spending into all five boroughs." 

"The Museum is delighted to commission Doug Aitken to create this unprecedented work, which will integrate his compelling artistic vision with the distinctive architecture of the new Museum building by Yoshio Taniguchi," said MoMA's Glenn Lowry.  "In animating the exterior of our building, Aitken's work is intended to resonate with the public beyond our walls and to underscore The Museum of Modern Art's dynamic relationship with the vibrant urban fabric of New York City."

At the press conference, the results of MoMA's economic impact study were also announced. The study shows that the Museum will generate $2 billion dollars over the 3-year period since the expanded and renovated Museum reopened in November 2004.  By mid-2007, the new MoMA will have generated nearly $50 million in tax revenue for the City.

By promoting the event both nationally and abroad, the first-ever Doug Aitken project in New York City will help NYC & Company to meet its goal to exceed the 42 million visitors that came to New York City in 2005.  To support that effort, the Mayor announced in June that the Administration will integrate three existing entities - NYC & Company, NYC Big Events and NYC Marketing - in order to create the world's leading municipal tourism, marketing, and events organization.  The creation of a single vehicle will focus financial resources and professional expertise to better compete for big events, more tourists and showcase the City's world-class assets and is a direct result of Mayor Bloomberg's January 2006 State of the City pledge to commit an additional $15 million annually to achieve the goal of attracting 50 million visitors annually by the year 2015.  The three agencies collectively employ more than 100 people and have a combined annual budget of more than $22 million.  That budget, when supplemented with the additional $15 million Mayor Bloomberg has earmarked annually for tourism promotion, will help create one of the largest and most effective municipal marketing organizations in the world.

Cultural visitors are a significant segment of the City's annual visitor volume, which NYC & Company defines as those visitors who include a museum, art exhibit, performing art, garden/zoo or historic site on a New York City itinerary.  Spending on entertainment, shopping, dining out, accommodations and transportation by these visitors rose 16% over the prior year to $13.3 billion.  Cultural organizations throughout the five boroughs help create jobs, contribute immeasurably to children's education, and infuse the local economy with millions of dollars annually.  Nearly 329,000 jobs in New York City are supported by visitor spending, making tourism the second most significant industry in terms of job creation in the four years since September 11th, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  With 5,000 new and renovated hotel rooms in the pipeline, visitor destinations under construction citywide plus new museums and cultural centers, the City expects to enjoy above-average rates of job creation in the hospitality and leisure industries over the next two years.

The first-ever Doug Aitken project in New York City continues the artist's body of work exploring the evolving ways people experience memory and narrative and relate to high-paced urban environments.  Inspired by the densely built environment of New York's midtown, the artist will create a cinematic art experience that will directly integrate with the City's architecture, while enhancing and challenging viewers' perceptions of public space.  The project will be produced and filmed in New York with local cast and crew by Dutch cinematographer Robby Müller, one of independent cinema's most prolific and celebrated cinematographers and a longtime collaborator of Wim Wenders ("Paris, Texas"), Jim Jarmusch ("Down by Law"), and Lars von Trier ("Dancer in the Dark"). 

"With this artwork, Aitken has imagined an innovative urban art experience that magnifies poignant moments of peoples' everyday lives into a grand dialogue between pedestrians and the complex architectural landscape they traverse," said Creative Time's Anne Pasternak.

"Doug Aitken's project is yet another reason to engage New Yorkers and visitors in the City's dynamic cultural community throughout the five boroughs," said Commissioner Levin.  "This public art event will not only inspire visitors to gain a new perspective on their environment, it will also reinforce the City's identity as an exciting cultural center for artists and audiences from here and around the world."

During the past decade, the artist has created innovative contemporary video art by fracturing the narrative structures of his films across multi-screen environments.  His work has been exhibited in museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.  In 2004, Aitken's installation Interiors (2002) was shown as part of the exhibition Hard Light at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, a MoMA affiliate.  In 1999, he was awarded the International Prize at the Venice Biennale.  Aitken was born in Redondo Beach, California, and graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles in 1991. 

The exhibition at MoMA is supported in part by Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley, with special support from The American Folk Art Museum, Hines Interest Limited Partnership, and Clifford Chance US LLP.  The production of the film has been made possible in part by Eastman Kodak Company, LaCie, AJA Video Systems, and Arri CSC. 

Creative Time is a New York-based public art organization, and presents innovative art in the public realm and works with artists who ignite the imagination and explore ideas that shape society.  It initiates a dynamic conversation among artists, sites, and audiences, in projects that enliven public spaces with free and powerful expression.  Creative Time first worked with Aitken in 1996 for Art in the Anchorage 13, in which film/video, audio and digital media artists created environments in the Brooklyn Bridge anchorage's vast chambers, introducing viewers to a range of new digital artistic processes through sound, moving image, and interactivity.


Stu Loeser/Silvia Alvarez   (212) 788-2958

Sara Rutkowski   (Cultural Affairs)
(212) 643-6690

Ruth Kaplan (MoMA)   (212) 708-9593

Kim Mitchell (MoMA)   (212) 333-6594

Maureen Sullivan (Creative Time)   (212) 206-6674

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