A Logo for America, 1987/2018
Public Intervention on the water
Digital animation, originally commissioned by The Public Art Fund for Spectacolor sign, Times Square, New York, April 1987
Courtesy Times Square Alliance, Galerie Lelong & Co., and the artist, New York
Alfredo Jaar is an Chilean-born conceptual artist, architect, and filmmaker who lives and works in New York. His work has been shown extensively around the world.
He has participated in the Biennales of Venice (1986, 2007, 2009, 2013), Sao Paulo (1987, 1989, 2010) as well as Documenta in Kassel (1987, 2002).
Important individual exhibitions include The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Whitechapel, London; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; MACRO, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rome and Moderna Museet, Stockholm.
Major recent surveys of his work have taken place at Musée des Beaux Arts, Lausanne; Hangar Bicocca, Milan; Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlinische Galerie and Neue Gesellschaft fur bildende Kunst e.V., Berlin; Rencontres d’Arles; KIASMA, Helsinki and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK. Jaar has realized more than seventy public interventions around the world.
Over sixty monographic publications have been published about his work. He became a Guggenheim Fellow in 1985, a MacArthur Fellow in 2000 and received the Hiroshima Art Prize in 2018.
Alfredo Jaar’s prescient work A Logo for America, was a point of departure for the inaugural Faena Festival in its exploration of America as a place, concept and myth.
The piece was presented on an LED jumbotron mounted on a boat navigating the Miami Beach shoreline. The monumental, text-and-and-image-based animated work, originally commissioned by The Public Art Fund for the giant electronic billboard marking the heart of New York’s Times Square, featured the text “This is Not America” emblazoned across an outline map of the US that morphs into an outline of the entire western hemisphere from a variety of perspectives, including from South to North, challenging the traditional view of the geopolitical makeup of the America.
As Miami has become known as “the gateway to the Americas”, the work proposed that we reimagine how we choose to define ourselves and our “American” identity to include the multiplicities of cultures and traditions that connect us across the American continent.
The boat (which generally interrupts lazy beach days with advertisements for bars and clubs) travelled the entire coastline of Miami Beach each day throughout the Festival so that the public work was experienced by the entire city—a reminder to all of our commonalities, shared histories and cultures regardless of geopolitical boundaries.
“The USA seems to be at war against refugees and immigrant when they have always been part of the origin and fabric of this country. The meaning of America has never been challenged in such a shocking way. To present A Logo for America in Miami today is for me an extraordinary opportunity to suggest that another America is still possible.”
Images: from top to bottom, and left to right: Alfredo Jaar Portrait - Photography Jee Eun Esther Jang / Alfredo Jaar - Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness, 2014 / Alfredo Jaar - Other People Think, 2012 / Alfredo Jaar - Lament of the Images, 2002 / Alfredo Jaar - The Geometry of Conscience, 2010 / Alfredo Jaar - The Skoghall Konsthall, 2000