Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Re:In The Air, TJ Wilcox at the Whitney

In the Air, T.J. Wilcox’s 360˚ video installation at the Whitney Museum of American Art makes a new attempt at capturing the illusive character of  New York City.

 As the titular work of the exhibition, Wilcox’s panoptic screen, which can be observed from both sides, fills the main gallery of the exhibition with a translucent cylinder several feet high that hangs four feet above the ground, just high enough to slip underneath and into the bird’s eye view of the city. The film, shot from atop the artist’s studio high above Union Square, captures a 15 hour period in time-lapse. However, the viewer must step into the cylinder, and into the city, to appreciate the six interchanging video anecdotes that appear superimposed on the skyline. Each video appears on the screen to reveal a moment or figure that Wilcox associates with that vantage point. The most potent of these, looking towards lower Manhattan depicts the artist recounting 9/11 as he motions to the now empty part of the cityscape. From other vantage points of the encapsulating installation the subsequent videos, mostly documentary and reenactment collages of art icons tied to New York City in some respect, seem to carry a mockumentary lightness to their production that does not resonate nearly as well. The installation is complemented by several artworks,selected by Wilcox, that attempt to characterize the city as a dynamic landscape.

For the awe-inspiring view and technical production that T.J. Wilcox's installation presents, the video collages that are intended to present the conceptual depth of the work only present few moments that communicate a genuine connection and kinship with the city that Wilcox attempts to recreate.


  1. T.J. Wilcox’s “In the Air” panoramic film installation at the Whitney Museum was spectacular. Your description and experience interacting within the piece was spot on, but your review is lacking an in depth analysis and interpretation of the installation. The six short poetic narrative films that framed within the windows were mentioned. However, the imagery within each film evoked a memory and recollected moments through time in New York City. You briefly mentioned two films, an account of 9/11 and the Empire State Building. A suggestion would be to add a detailed description of one of the films, for example, Wilcox recount his personal witnessing of September 11 on that very rooftop. Also, you need more justification for your opinions on the piece.

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  3. This review spends lots of space on description, so readers can have a sense what this work technically is if they have never been there. However, the description is too straightforward which could not deliver the atmosphere of videos on the screen and the atmosphere of the installation. If you can do some research of the video and describe the installation in a more vivid way, it should be better. Also the last paragraph, the conclusion is too generalized and lacking analysis. I do support that people should have your own opinion on an art work even his/her opinion is different from all other people's, but it is necessary to deliver the thinking or emotional or whatever process clearly and sincerely.