On Sunday, June 23, 2002, a procession set off from The Museum of Modern Art on West 53rd Street in Manhattan to MoMA QNS, the Museum’s new temporary exhibition quarters across the Queensborough Bridge in Long Island City, Queens. The procession coincided with the closing of the Manhattan building for renovation, and was conceived by Alÿs especially for the occasion.
The parade, an adaptation of the religious processions of Alÿs’s native country, Belgium, and his adopted one, Mexico, consisted of many art workers, a soccer team, a brass band whose music set the pace, a horse, several dogs, a “living icon”—the artist Kiki Smith, born aloft on a palanquin—and others, scattering flower petals and blowing soap bubbles. On three additional palanquins, marchers carried copies of famous works from MoMA’s collection—Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, Marcel Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel, and Alberto Giacometti’s _Standing Woman #2_—ceremoniously transporting them to their new home.
The Modern Procession was filmed by the artist and his team and edited into several versions.
Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art , p. 238.