To make Street, Nares shot 16 hours of footage with a high-speed camera that is normally used from a stationary position to capture fleeting subjects such as hummingbirds and speeding bullets at a rate of between 500 and 1000 frames per second. Guitarist and Sonic Youth co-founder Thurston Moore composed and performed the video’s musical score on a 12-string acoustic guitar.
“My video, New York, and the Met are all tied together for me,” Nares explains. “I moved here in 1974 and since then I have come to this museum regularly, like most artists I know, to refuel creatively and to be surprised, challenged, and inspired. Street is a piece that I’ve wanted to make since coming here—a love letter to my adopted home. So to be able to ‘raid the icebox,’ as Warhol once put it, and gather around my work all these old friends and new acquaintances, is one of the happiest occasions of my career.”
The 61-minute high-definition video that was shot on the streets of Manhattan over the course of a week in September 2011 will be shown continuously on a large screen in the central gallery of the Museum’s Drawings, Prints, and Photographs Galleries. The exhibition will also include 60 works of art selected by the Nares from the Met’s collections.
“James Nares’s Street is a microcosm of contemporary New York that makes accessible the countless individual moments, gestures, and interactions that are normally too fleeting to take in all at once,” notes Thomas P. Campbell, director of the Metropolitan Museum.
“Because its underlying subject is people, Street is also fascinating to view in a historical context. The relevant works of art that Nares selected from across the Met’s vast holdings range from a striding figure made in Sumer around 3000 B.C. to Walker Evans’s jars of pull tabs and bottle caps pocketed off the sidewalk. These works are eclectic and often surprising, and provide a true lesson in close looking across geographic and temporal boundaries.”
An online feature about the exhibition, including a two-minute excerpt from the video Street, is on the Metropolitan Museum’s website at: http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2013/street. For more information, call 212-535-7710 or visit www.metmuseum.org.