Featuring a Celebratory Spring Equinox Gathering in Times Square on March 20, 2021

Erin Johnson. Lake video still. Courtesy of the artist.

(NEW YORK, NY — February 17, 2021) — Times Square Arts, the largest public platform for contemporary performance and visual arts, is pleased to present Lake by Erin Johnson for the month of March as part of the organization’s signature Midnight Moment series in partnership with Pioneer Works. Midnight Moment is the world’s largest, longest-running digital art exhibition, synchronized on electronic billboards throughout Times Square nightly from 11:57pm to midnight.

To celebrate the presentation of Lake in Times Square, as well as the beginning of spring, the artist will host a Spring Equinox Gathering on Father Duffy Square on March 20, 2021. Fellow Pioneer Works artist-in-residence Luke Stewart will perform a live score to accompany the presentation of Lake.

Erin Johnson’s Lake offers a moment of tranquil reflection in Times Square, depicting a group of artists engaging in what the artist calls a “collective queer and desirous exchange” while attempting to stay afloat together. The group is seen from a bird’s-eye view as they move in and out of a state of suspension, drift in and out of the frame, converge and glide apart. The video reflects on notions of togetherness and feminist theorist Silvia Federici’s call to “reconnect what capitalism has divided: our relation with nature, with others, and our bodies,” which has become especially important in the context of the pandemic.

Erin Johnson made this work while a resident artist at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Johnson became interested in how groups of people, in this case artists, live in relation to—and support—each other. The gestures and movements in the video reflect the interpersonal and group dynamics present in this kind of collectivity: each person’s movements impact the others as they try to remain close while giving each other space, attempt to stay in the frame, and hold each other up when sinking. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, this video has taken on new, additional meanings: the suspension of time, the feeling of being adrift in space, and the importance of intimacy and proximity.

Then on March 27, Pioneer Works invites viewers to a closing celebration in Brooklyn, which will include a film screening and celebration on kayaks along the Red Hook shoreline.

Brooklyn-based artist Erin Johnson (b. 1985) is a visual artist primarily working in video and video installation. Johnson’s research-driven works blend documentary, experimental, and narrative filmmaking devices and foreground the ways in which individual lives and sociopolitical realities merge. Comprised of footage of site-specific performances, the videos examine the complexity of collectivity, the wide-ranging consequences of different forms of scientific research and imperialist experiments, protest, and the queer body. Johnson received an MFA and Certificate in New Media from UC Berkeley in 2013, attended Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in 2019, and is currently an artist-in-residence at Pioneer Works.

Pioneer Works is a cultural center dedicated to experimentation, education, and production across disciplines. Through a broad range of educational programs, performances, residencies, and exhibitions, Pioneer Works transcends disciplinary boundaries to foster a community where alternative modes of thought are activated and supported. We strive to make culture accessible to all.

Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance, collaborates with contemporary artists and cultural institutions to experiment and engage with one of the world's most iconic urban places. Through the Square's electronic billboards, public plazas, vacant areas and popular venues, and the Alliance's own online landscape, Times Square Arts invites leading contemporary creators to help the public see Times Square in new ways. Times Square has always been a place of risk, innovation and creativity, and the Arts Program ensures these qualities remain central to the district's unique identity. Generous support of Times Square Arts is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Arts; the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional support for Midnight Moment is provided by the New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Times Square Advertising Coalition. Visit TSq.org/Arts for more information. Follow us on Instagram at @TSqArts.

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Ali Rigo
Senior Account Executive, Cultural Counsel

Catie DeWitt
Account Coordinator, Cultural Counsel