Two films by the American-born, London-based painter Sarah Morris will have their North American museum debuts beginning February 8 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Focused on contemporary urbanism and characterized by fast-paced montage, Midtown and AM/PM are accompanied by electronically processed musical scores by the artist Liam Gillick. Both films are presented in DVD, which captures the pulsing colors and forms of the their urban subjects.
Shot in Manhattan in 1998, Midtown will be on view from February 8 through 20. It examines the utopian modernist vision exemplified by International Style architectural landmarks such as Lever House and the Seagram's Building, and explores the dissolution of "high art" vocabulary in commercial, vernacular sites such as Times Square, 57th Street, and Madison Square Garden. Taking its title from an all-day/all-night convenience store, AM/PM, on view from February 22 through March 5, looks at the famous Las Vegas "Strip," portraying an eerie, disorienting world without real time or space, but spectacular in its visual depth and intensity.
Born in 1967, Morris has been exhibiting internationally for a decade, and was recently named a Berlin Prize Fellow of the American Academy-Philip Morris. Her work was included in Young Americans Part 2 (1998) at the Saatchi Gallery in London, and she will be the subject of a solo exhibition at the Kunsthalle Zurich later this year.
Midtown and AM/PM will be presented in the Museum's Video Gallery (179), located in the first-floor Galleries of Modern and Contemporary Art, which feature a number of groundbreaking, early 20th-century images of urban life, including The City (1919) by Fernand Léger and Robert Delaunay's Eiffel Tower (c. 1909).
Programs in the Video Gallery are organized by Susan Rosenberg, Assistant Curator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art.