(American, born 1934)
Motion Picture (Times Square), 1989–90
Lithograph and screenprint
Museum purchase with funds provided by the 1072 Society, 2011
Whether seated in a Cessna airplane or a chair near the window in a high-rise, Yvonne Jacquette depicts the world from this very modern, elevated perspective and has done so for the past four decades. Her images capture the energy of the city as well as the complex sprawl of industrial centers, the organized chaos of waterfronts, and the grand sweep of imposed geometry across American farmlands. Her preferred aerial viewpoint results in unusual juxtapositions and spatial relationships that merge abstraction, representation, and surface pattern in richly hued paintings, drawings, and prints.
A visit to Japan, where Jacquette delighted in the bright and colorful contrasts of neon at night in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo, formed the inspiration for her Times Square Triptych II, from which this print derives. That painting’s three oil panels feature neon billboards selling corporate America, high above wet streets filled with cars, pedestrians, and movie marquees. Jacquette used slashing brushstrokes to suggest the motion of the city in her painting and repeated the technique in producing this print, whose composition mirrors the central panel of the highly regarded triptych. Motion Picture’s dynamic design offers a dialogue between the bold, red-striped neon billboard in the near picture plane and strong receding diagonals of the traffic-filled street below. Light flickers off the wet pavement and the shiny metal surfaces of street vehicles. Headlights create rhythmic puddles on the olive drab roadway. A movie theater marquee lists different films of the 1980s, including Wim Wenders’ 1987 romantic fantasy Wings of Desire and Charlie Ahearn’s 1983 hip-hop classic Wild Style. These titles illustrate not only the wide range of art and entertainment found at the so-called “Crossroads of the World,” but also alludes to the demi-monde aspects that exist in the district. The vibrant image confirms that Times Square is best experienced at night when it is truly electrified, both literally and symbolically.
In anticipation of Auburn’s celebration of 125 Years of Auburn Women, curators will campaign to acquire work by women artists, thus adding to the 54 females currently represented in the collection. Learn more.