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James Nares' STREET on view at Joslyn Art Museum
James Nares, Street (still), 2011, music by Thurston Moore, 61 minutes, Courtesy of the artist and Paul Kasmin Gallery.
OMAHA, NE.- In September of 2011, James Nares spent a week driving a rented SUV through Manhattan with an ultra-high-speed camera rigged to a platform in the back seat, its lens pointing at the passing sidewalks. Nares recorded sixteen hours of footage, from which he extracted just two minutes and forty seconds of real-time film. Slowing these edited sections down, he created an hour-long video set to a droning soundtrack composed on 12-string guitar by Sonic Youth co-founder Thurston Moore. Transforming people’s movements and gestures into a fluid, slow-motion choreography, Street (2011) creates order from the magnetic energy and chaos that typifies urban public space.

The second temporary installation in Joslyn Art Museum’s Karen and Doug Riley Contemporary Artists Project (CAP) Gallery, James Nares STREET opened at Joslyn on June 21 and continues through September 21. The exhibition is included in free general Museum admission.

Nares wanted Street to convey the “dreamlike impression of floating through a city full of people frozen in time, caught Pompeii-like, at a particular moment of thought, expression, or activity.” His inspiration for the video was actuality film — short, non-fiction motion pictures dating to the 1890s that utilized footage of real people and places but were not structured around narrative storylines. Framed as a montage of events rather than as a linear narrative, Street pulls our attention toward individuals among the masses that crowd the city’s sidewalks. We watch with rapt attention as tourists meander, couples embrace, diners eat at cafés, and friends pause to chat, all simple acts and interactions that appear more intentional, even monumental, as they gradually unfold to the pulsating rhythm of Moore’s guitar.

James Nares was born in London in 1953. He studied at Chelsea School of Art in London from 1972 to 1973 and at the School of Visual Arts in New York between 1974 and 1975. Nares has recently had solo exhibitions at venues including The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY, 2013); the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (Hartford, CT) and the Saint Louis Art Museum (2012); and Anthology Film Archives (New York, NY, 2008). His work is held in the permanent collections of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY); the Hood Museum of Art (Hanover, NH); the Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY); and the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY). Nares lives and works in New York.

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