May 8–August 1, 2011
On view at MoMA and MoMA PS1
Francis Alÿs (Belgian, born 1959) trained and practiced as an architect in Venice before moving to Mexico City, where he has lived since 1986. Alÿs’s artwork ranges in scale from simple, ephemeral actions such as pushing a block of ice through the city streets until nothing but a puddle of water remains, to epic and complex events—for example, inviting 500 volunteers to collectively move a mountain in Peru. With allegorical and poetic gestures, Alÿs confronts issues critical to contemporary societies: urbanism, economic cycles, and differing concepts of modernity and progress. Alÿs produces many of his works in and around Mexico City, commenting on the patterns of development and crisis that persist in Latin American society. The artist documents his projects extensively in a number of mediums, providing a variety of perspectives on the work through drawings, paintings, videos, sculptures, and texts.
This exhibition, on view at The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1, presents a range of Alÿs’s works from the mid-1990s to today, drawn primarily from MoMA’s collection. In the most recent work, filmed episodically over a decade, the artist chases tornadoes in the dusty Mexican countryside, trying to enter the eye of the storm. Embracing poetry, futility, and self-conscious irony, his actions allude to change as an ongoing process of advancement and regression, and honor human persistence in the face of crises. The title of the exhibition, A Story of Deception, is inspired by the fundamental human desire to chase the unattainable and ever-escaping—a concept at the core of Alÿs’s practice, illustrated by Samuel Beckett’s words, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
The exhibition is located at both MoMA in Manhattan and MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, Queens.
MoMA PS1 is just two stops away—less than 10 minutes—from MoMA.
MoMA is located at 11 West 53 Street, New York, NY.
Get directions to MoMA
MoMA PS1 is located at 46-01 21st Street, Long Island City, Queens, NY.
Get directions to MoMA PS1
MoMA to MoMA PS1: from MoMA, exit onto 53 Street. Enter the Fifth Avenue/53 Street station, on your left across the street. Take the Queens-bound E or M train two stops to Court Square/23 Street. (formerly 23 Street/Ely Avenue). Exit the station onto 21 Street, by walking toward the back of the train. Turn left and walk four blocks on 21 Street. Turn left onto 46 Avenue and walk one block to MoMA PS1’s main entrance.
MoMA PS1 to MoMA: from MoMA PS1, turn left and walk one block on 46 Avenue to 21 Street. Turn right, walk four blocks, and enter the Court Square/23 Street station (formerly 23 Street/Ely Avenue). Take the Manhattan-bound E or M train two stops to Fifth Avenue/53 Street. Exit the station onto 53 Street; MoMA’s main entrance is on your left across the street.
The exhibition is organized by Klaus Biesenbach, Chief Curator at Large, The Museum of Modern Art, and Director, MoMA PS1; Cara Starke, Assistant Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art, The Museum of Modern Art; with the assistance of Stephanie Weber, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Media and Performance Art, The Museum of Modern Art; and Matthew Evans, Curatorial Assistant, MoMA PS1.
The exhibition was initiated in collaboration with Tate Modern, London, and WIELS Centre of Contemporary Art, Brussels.
The exhibition is made possible by a partnership with Volkswagen of America.
Major support is provided by MoMA's Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation, Mr. Eugenio López Alonso, The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, and Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley.
Additional funding is provided by The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art and by Flanders House, New York.
Klaus Biesenbach, MoMA Chief Curator at Large and Director, MoMA PS1
Cara Starke, Assistant Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art
Stephanie Weber, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Media and Performance Art
Matthew Evans, Curatorial Assistant, MoMA PS1
Department of Digital Media
Allegra Burnette, Creative Director
Shannon Darrough, Senior Media Developer
Dan Phiffer, Media Technology Developer
Jason Persse, Associate Editor