Steve McQueen’s Newly Acquired Static (2009) to Be Displayed at The Museum of Modern Art

Steve McQueen. Static. 2009. 35mm film transferred to video (color, sound). 7:03 min. The Michael H. Dunn Memorial Fund. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2017 Steve McQueen. Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

The Museum of Modern Art will display Static (2009), a recently acquired digital projection of a 35mm film by the artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen (British, born 1969), in The Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium from May 6 through summer 2017. The installation is part of MoMA’s ongoing Inbox series, which highlights new acquisitions to the museum’s collection.

Shot from a helicopter circling the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island, in New York Harbor, the film by the artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen captures Lady Liberty both in furtive, detailed close-ups and from a greater remove. As suggested by the work’s title, the statue remains fixed, intended to be gazed at from afar, even as the many perspectives from which it is encountered are subject to change. Accompanied by the roaring sound of the helicopter blades, the piece is marked by unease and uncertainty, showcasing and scrutinizing one of the most iconic symbols of the United States within the urban surroundings of New York City and New Jersey.

This is the first time Static will be shown on the scale of a major civic space. The film was made in 2009 to coincide with President Barack Obama’s motion to reopen the Statue of Liberty to the public on July 4 as a special gift to the United States after the monument’s 8-year closure following the attacks of September 11, 2001. Inbox: Steve McQueen is organized by the Department of Media and Performance Art.

Inbox is an ongoing series of installations that began in 2014 to showcase new additions to Museum of Modern Art‘s collection. The Museum’s first brochure in 1929 outlined its “ultimate purpose” as “to acquire, from time to time, (either by gift of by purchase) a collection of the best modern works of art.” This process remains central to the Museum’s mission and, as such, MoMA acquires a diverse selection of modern and contemporary artworks every year. Previous Inbox installations have included: Inbox: Jasper Johns, Inbox: The Original Emoji, by Shigetaka Kurita, Inbox: August Sander, Inbox: Channa Horwitz, Inbox: Glenn Ligon, and Inbox: Haegue Yang, Spice Moons.

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Andrea K. Hammer, founder and director of Artsphoria Magazine & Shop, is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer. She has published articles in international publications. Through this expanded edition of Artsphoria, she invites fellow artists, writers, innovators and creative thinkers to join our conversation!