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02 Dec 2011

The Montclair Art Museum launches New Directions

Marina Zurkow: Friends, Enemies, and Others
Montclair Art Museum


Extended through March 18! Wednesdays – Sundays, Noon – 5 p.m. Marina Zurkow on Friends, Enemies, and Others video available at

Catherine Mastrangelo

Montclair Art Museum
3 South Mountain Avenue
Montclair, NJ, 07042

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The Fall 2011 season at the Montclair Art Museum (MAM) marked the launch of New Directions, a series of solo exhibitions of contemporary artists inaugurated by MAM's new Curator of Contemporary Art, Alexandra Schwartz. The first in this series presents the work of media artist and 2011 Guggenheim Fellow Marina Zurkow. Titled Marina Zurkow: Friends, Enemies, and Others, the exhibition presents the world premiere of Zurkow's Friends and Enemies, and includes five digital animation videos, two of which are screened on the Museum's grounds, and 16 works on paper.

Zurkow makes psychological narratives about humans and their relationship to animals, plants, and the weather. These take the form of multichannel videos, customized multiscreen computer pieces, animated cartoons, interactive mobile works, and pop objects.

The first portion of the exhibition showcases the series Crossing the Waters (2006–09), digital animations that explore oceanic environments and climate change. The centerpiece of the exhibition, Friends and Enemies, comprises a 146-hour-long video and related prints. The digital animation Mesocosm (Northumberland UK) chronicles the changes that occur over a year on the moors of Northumberland, England; one minute of screen time equals one hour of real time. Seasons unfold, snows fall, days pass, moons rise, and animals come and go around the omnipresent man in the garden, which is based on a painting by Lucian Freud of the British fashion designer and performer Leigh Bowery. The action in the landscape is determined by computer code, which randomly generates its order and frequency; no cycle is identical to the last.

The digital animation videos are accompanied by works on paper. Mesocosm (Northumberland, UK): Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn (2011) consists of four digital prints based on video stills, while Heraldic Crests for Invasive Species (2011) comprises 12 letterpress prints describing some of the major invasive (non-native) species of Northern England, several of which appear in the video.


The Star-Ledger, 'Digital Art Floats into New Realm: Brooklyn artist turns animal animations into unpredictable visual form'

The New York Times, 'An Uncomfortably Small, And Shrinking, World'

A 30-second digital preview featuring Marina Zurkow's animation Mesocosm (Northumberland, UK) is available on the MAM YouTube channel at youtube/wi405Wkgats. Marina Zurkow also discusses three of the digital animations in Friends, Enemies, and Others in a 9-minute video available at