Watch STREET by clicking this link.
Kasmin/Verso is pleased to present a triple bill of works by James Nares as part of the gallery’s new screening series. Pendulum (1976), Globe (2007), and STREET (2011) air consecutively over three weekends from May 8 to May 24 via vimeo.com/showcase/kasminversoscreenings. Each of the films use the backdrop of New York City as their stage, a setting made all the more poignant by the current, unprecedented halt to the pace of life in the city. This is the first time that the three works—which went on view as part of the artist’s 2019 retrospective at the Milwaukee Art Museum—have been made available for viewing online.
Commencing the series is Pendulum (1976). Filmed in New York’s TriBeCa neighborhood, the work follows a wrecking ball swinging slowly back and forth across an empty alley. An act that would be nearly impossible now in the well-populated enclave, the film functions as a record of the changing topography of the metropolis. "Pendulum once spoke of the abandonment of much of New York; there were whole neighborhoods where an artist could swing a giant sphere without anyone much noticing,” Blake Gopnik observed in 2015. “Seen today, however, it seems to speak of the destruction, and posh reconstruction, of the very urban fabric where it once could swing free.”
In Globe (2007), a glass orb refracts its surroundings as it makes its way across Chelsea—another of Nares’ familiar neighborhoods. The artist devised a special lens to shoot the footage, which amplifies each object, billboard, or sidewalk it traverses to compile an intimate history of the mundane. The film is scored by Phil Kline, who composed the music by extending a few bars of a Bach piece across 43 minutes. Its relaxed and methodical pace complements the film, described by Nares as his “examination of the surface of the city.”
Perhaps Nares most well known film, STREET (2011) celebrates the remarkable rhythm and chaos of New York City streets, set to music composed specifically for the film by Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore. Documenting the human fabric of the city—crossing guards, food vendors, tourists, and commuters—Nares recorded in six-second bursts, which he then slowed down so that each six-second pan could be elongated across two minutes. The end product allows viewers to meditate deliberately on each figure in the frame—to appreciate the significance and interconnectedness of every New Yorker.
Kasmin/Verso is a new multimedia editorial series that aims to offer a deeper insight into the work and practice of the gallery artists. Encompassing in-depth artist interviews, behind-the-scenes access to studios, presentations of new work, previously unseen archival materials, and weekly online film screenings, the series will reflect the gallery’s diverse program—placing historic figures of Post-War art in dialogue with the evolving practice of both emerging and established artists working today.
ABOUT JAMES NARES
Over the course of a five-decade career, Nares (b. 1953) has investigated, challenged, and expanded the boundaries of his multi-media practice that encompasses film, music, painting, photography, and performance. He continues to employ various media to explore physicality, motion, and the unfolding of time.