Times Square Arts and the Times Square Advertising Coalition Present Isaac Julien's PLAYTIME on 17 Electronic Billboards in Times Square in December

  • Isaac Julien, ECLIPSE (Playtime), 2013.  Endura Ultra Photograph.  70.87 x 106.3 inches or 62.99 x 94.

    Isaac Julien, ECLIPSE (Playtime), 2013. Endura Ultra Photograph. 70.87 x 106.3 inches or 62.99 x 94.

    Courtesy the artist and Metro Pictures, New York


Monthly Program is Organized and Supported by the Times Square Advertising Coalition in Partnership with Times Square Arts

December 1-30, 2013, 11:57 p.m. – midnight

Filmmaker and installation artist Isaac Julien will have his Midnight Moment this December when a three-minute version of his acclaimed PLAYTIME plays on over 17 of the largest electronic billboards in Times Square. Julien’s work will be on view December 1-30 from 11:57 p.m. until midnight daily. 


Midnight Moment, a presentation of the Times Square Advertising Coalition (TSAC) and Times Square Arts, is the largest coordinated effort in history by the sign operators in Times Square to display synchronized, cutting-edge creative content on electronic billboards and newspaper kiosks throughout Times Square every night.


PLAYTIME explores current debates on the relationships between capital, the art world, and the individual. For Midnight Moment, Julien creates a three-minute visual impression of the full-length film, showcasing the diversity of landscape as highlighted by exceptional color, shot with 4K technology. 


PLAYTIME consists of three chapters, each devoted to a city defined by its own relation to capital: London, a metropolis transformed by the deregulation of banks and a center of the commercial art world; Reykjavik, where the 2008 financial crisis began; and Dubai, one of the Middle East’s fastest-growing financial markets. PLAYTIME follows five main characters identified as The Collector, The Houseworker, The Artist, The Auctioneer, and The Reporter, examining the ways in which these diverse subjects are entangled in capital and implicated in the global financial crisis. All characters are based on real individuals, each of whom Julien interviewed and researched extensively. The silent version of PLAYTIME showing on the Times Square screens hints at each of the characters’ larger narratives through a series of moving images that establish their environments. The film installation is currently on view at Metro Pictures through December 14.


Fred Rosenberg, Acting Chairman of the Times Square Advertising Coalition, said: “TSAC is thrilled to showcase Isaac Julien’s PLAYTIME as part of the December Midnight Moment in Times Square.  The digital screens throughout the crossroads of the world are a perfect platform for a piece that explores the relationships between capital, the art world, and the individual.  New Yorkers and visitors will certainly pause to view this cutting-edge film.”

Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, said, "Showing Isaac Julien's film on Times Square's high-tech digital screens concurrently when the artist also has exhibitions at both The Museum of Modern Art and Metro Pictures represents a unique fusion of modern culture, art and technology."


Sherry Dobbin, Times Square Arts Director, said: “Isaac Julien is having a moment in NYC with his Midnight Moment and exhibitions at Metro Pictures and The Museum of Modern Art. Isaac’s rich, lush imagery combined with a natural ease of working across multiple screens has always had him placed high on our wish list.  As the series PLAYTIME will be making an impact on midtown and Chelsea, so will his show at The Museum of Modern Art and the related publication, RIOT, which showcases over 30 years of his work in film and video.”


The following digital screens are participating in the December Midnight Moment: ABC Super Sign, two signs American Eagle Times Square, Bank of America, CEMUSA, City Outdoor, Disney, JVC Screen, NASDAQ, Spectacolor HD129 / Times Square Museum & Visitor Center Marquee, ClearChannel HD128, Spectacolor HD127 / CNN Screen, Times Square Museum & Visitor Center, Viacom North & South (SL Green Realty) Thomson Reuters and 7TS (7 Times Square).  

Concurrent with Midnight Moment, Julien’s work Ten Thousand Waves is the subject of an exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art. Isaac Julien: Ten Thousand Waves (November 25, 2013–February 17, 2014) is an immersive film installation projected onto nine double-sided screens arranged in a dynamic structure especially conceived for The Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium.


About Midnight Moment

Midnight Moment is the largest coordinated effort in history by the sign operators in Times Square to display synchronized, cutting-edge creative content on electronic billboards and newspaper kiosks throughout Times Square every night. The program premiered in May 2012 and is organized and supported by the Times Square Advertising Coalition in partnership with Times Square Arts, the public art program for the Times Square Alliance, with additional partners of participating sign holders and artists.

Each night, Times Square becomes a digital art gallery through dazzling visuals on select billboards and newsstands. Every show begins at 11:57 p.m. with a "countdown" that signals the start of the three minute nightly presentation.  Past artists featured in the program include Robert Wilson; Tracey Emin; Seoungho Cho; Vicki DaSilva, Surabhi Saraf, and Elly Cho; Erika Janunger; Takeshi Murata; Bel Borba with Burt Sun and André Costantini; Brian Gonzalez (aka Taxiplasm);Björk; JR; Ryan McGinley; Jack Goldstein; Nature Theater of Oklahoma; Ezra Wube; and Yoko Ono. For more information on past projects, please visit www.TimesSquareNYC.org/MidnightMoment.

Midnight Moment content changes monthly; selected works are announced in the weeks preceding the start of a new show, as are the exact signs participating in that month's selection. Guidelines for artist and designer participation in future programs are located on the Times Square Alliance website.



About the Artist

Filmmaker and installation artist Isaac Julien was born in 1960 in London, where he currently lives and works. His multi-screen film installations and photographs incorporate different artistic disciplines to create a poetic and unique visual language. His 1989 documentary-drama exploring author Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance, titled Looking for Langston, garnered Julien a cult following. His 1991 debut feature Young Soul Rebels won the Semaine de la Critique prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Julien’s work is held in collections including: Tate, London; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC. His most recent film Ten Thousand Waves premiered at the 2010 Sydney Biennale and has gone on to be exhibited at venues throughout the world. Julien has participated in the Venice Biennale (2009); the 7th Gwangju Biennial, South Korea (2008); Prospect 1, New Orleans (2008); and Performa 07, New York. He has had one-person exhibitions at: the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Boston (2011); L’Atelier Hermès, Seoul (2011); Kunstnernes Hus. Oslo (2011); The Bass Museum, Miami (2010); Helsinki Festival, Kunsthalle Helsinki (2010); Museum Brandhorst, Munich (2008); Kestnergesellschart, Hannover, (2006) Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2005); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2005); and Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2005). www.isaacjulien.com


Times Square Advertising Coalition (TSAC) is a trade association comprised of major advertisers, retailers, real estate firms, media companies and other businesses involved in the outdoor sign industry in Times Square, along with organizations representing Broadway and the community.   Members of TSAC include:  ABC Regional Sports & Entertainment Sales, Clear Channel Spectacolor, Daktronics, D3 LED, Digital Domination, Hines Management, Jamestown One Times Square, Lamar Advertising Company, Landmark Sign & Electric, Metro Media Technologies, Newmark Knight Frank, North Shore Neon, P.R.omotion!, Sherwood Outdoor, SL Green, Times Square Alliance, The WOW Factor and Thomson Reuters. www.timessquareadcoalition.org

Times Square Arts, the public arts program of the Times Square Alliance, collaborates with contemporary artists to experiment and engage with one of the world's most iconic urban places. Acting as a laboratory for contemporary art in the public realm—a place where ideas are tested and new possibilities explored. Times Square Arts works with artists and cultural institutions to create dialogues with Times Square and all of its physical and mythological manifestations. Through the Square's electronic billboards, public plazas, vacant areas and popular venues, in addition to the Alliance’s own online landscape, Times Square Arts invites leading contemporary creators to help the public see Times Square in new ways. Times Square has always been a place of risk, innovation and creativity, and the Arts Program ensures these qualities remain central to the district's unique identity. Generous support by ArtPlace America and ArtWorks. Visit www.TimesSquareNYC.org/arts for more information. Follow us on Twitter @TSqArts and Instagram http://instagram.com/tsqarts


Media Contacts:

For TSAC: Justine DiGiglio (212) 205-6632

For Times Square Arts: Gia Storms (212) 452-5205, or Daniela Stigh at Rubenstein Communications (212) 843-8269

Press Contact:
Daniela Stigh
Rubenstein Communications
P: (212) 843-8269

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