Reporting from Moma.
Sleepwalkers, transforming 53rd and 54th Streets into a vast outdoor multiplex. Five short interconnected films will tell the story of one night in the lives of five New Yorkers, played by Donald Sutherland, Tilda Swinton, Cat Power, Seu Jorge, and an unknown, Ryan Donowho, a teenage busker whom the artist, Doug Aitken, met in the subway. Aitken calls the spectacle a “silent film for the 21st century,” and projected every evening from 5 to 10 p.m. for 28 consecutive days, the show is likely to be the most-seen in MoMA’s history.
The 38-year-old Aitken is already something of an art-world prodigy. He won the International Prize at the Venice Biennale when he was 31. He’s had countless solo shows and has exhibited at the Whitney and the Centre Pompidou. He’s even made music videos for Interpol and Fatboy Slim. But Sleepwalkers will elevate Aitken from downtown art stardom to MoMA’s uptown firmament.
“Doug is really pushing the envelope,” says Klaus Biesenbach, the chief curator of media at MoMA and the co-curator of the project. “He’s like a scientist who is really obsessed with an experiment and how it furthers the discussion of his body of work.” For MoMA, the project is a chance to shake off its stodgy post- expansion image and to prove those massive new walls have a purpose.