Steve McQueen. Static. 2009. 35mm film transferred to video (color, sound), 7:03 min. The Michael H. Dunn Memorial Fund. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2017 Steve McQueen. Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

The artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen (British, born 1969) has been making film and media installations since 1992. His works amplify the corporeality of the projected image, investigating the human body and its limits through a rigorous engagement with the physical space of the viewer, the sonic potential of cinema, the history of film aesthetics, and the entanglement of documentary and narrative. Static (2009) is a digital projection of a 35mm film shot from a helicopter circling the Statue of Liberty, on Liberty Island, set against the backdrops of New York City and New Jersey. The film captures Lady Liberty both in detailed close-ups and from a greater remove. As suggested by the work’s title, the statue remains fixed, intended to be looked at from afar, even as the perspectives from which it is seen are subject to change. At times dominated by the roaring sound of the helicopter blades, the piece is marked by unease and uncertainty. Static showcases and scrutinizes the statue, defamiliarizing one of the most iconic symbols of the United States through an intimate, agitated gaze at its surfaces. The film was made in 2009, the same year that President Barack Obama chose to reopen the Statue of Liberty to the public on July 4, ending the monument’s nearly eight-year closure following the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Organized by the Department of Media and Performance Art.

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA's collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

If you would like to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA, please contact Scala Archives (all geographic locations) at firenze@scalarchives.com.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA's archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.