Eyes of the Sea

Nora Maité Nieves

Norton Museum

Bringing a playful analog sensibility to the digital landscape of Times Square every midnight in February, artist Nora Maité Nieves invites audiences on a journey through the symbols, textures and ornamental elements of her Caribbean roots. Part origin story, part fantasy, Eyes of the Sea is a mythological genesis tale told through color, shape, and movement.

Conjuring concrete breeze blocks, bright yellow squares with eye-shaped contours stack and multiply while swirling spirals of color flow like lava beneath them. The eyes begin to dance, transforming into fish swimming through rich blue waters and past landscapes of richly-painted marble, mosaics, and grids. After seeming to climb onto land and across a colonial tile floor, at the culmination of their voyage, the transmorphic fish converge, taking the shape of a rainbow-hued spinning flower.

“The blocks become eyes looking through a portal to the Caribbean sea, a way for me to look back at my home, Puerto Rico, and for home to look back at me.”
— Nora Maité Nieves

Using stop-motion animation to bring her painted and sculptural works to life, Nieves turns a thoughtful gaze on the textures of and devotion to a single, dynamic place, exploring themes of identity and belonging as well as the history of the Caribbean.

Eyes of the Sea is presented in collaboration with the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida, in conjunction with Nieves’ solo exhibition Clouds in the Expanded Field, on view from December 23, 2023 to July 7, 2024.

Multimedia Artist: Dan Scofield


Nora Maité Nieves (b. 1980 San Juan, Puerto Rico) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010, and her BFA from La Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Diseño de Puerto Rico, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 2004. Recent solo exhibitions include: Temples of the Sea, Jason Haam, Seoul, Korea (2022); Deep Blue Day, Pink Bright Night, Embajada Foyer, Brooklyn, NY (2021); Full Room in the Sun Room, Fresh Window Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (2019); Paisaje Lunar, Flyweight Projects, Brooklyn, NY (2019); and Tangible at Hidrante, San Juan, PR (2018). Recent Two Person exhibitions: Cuerpo, Espacio y Todo lo que Rodea, Nora Maité Nieves and Yoan Sorin, Embajada, San Juan, PR (2021); Electric Hue, Nora Maité Nieves and Livia Ortiz, Proxyco Gallery, NewYork, NY (2021). Recent group exhibitions include: Entre Horizontes: Art and Activism Between Chicago and Puerto Rico, curated by Carla Acevedo-Yates, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, IL (2023); Interplay, Hollis Taggart Gallery, New York, NY (2023); Unspoken Identities, curated by Abdiel Segarra-Ríos, Ana Mas Projects, Barcelona, Spain (2023); Reimagined Landscapes, Calderón Gallery, New York, NY (2022); Intertwined, curated by Alex Allenchey, 1969 Gallery, New York, NY (2021); Surfacing at Ruiz-Healy Art, New York, NY curated by Carlos Rosales-Silva (2021); Contact Light at Survey Survey, New York, NY (2021); […]ENTREFORMAS, at El Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR, curated by Abdiel Segarra (2021); Rubus Armeniacus (Himalayan Blackberry) at Jessica’s Apartment Gallery, New York, NY, curated by Jessica Kwok (2019); Nada Tropical, Miscelanea Gallery, Barcelona, Spain, curated by Ricardo Cabret and  Maximilian Juliá (2019); Repatriation at El Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR, curated by Bianca Ortiz (2019); and EDDYS Room at Galleri Thomassen, Gothenburg, Sweden, curated by Austin Eddy (2018).

Founded in 1941 by Ralph Hubbard Norton and his wife Elizabeth Calhoun Norton, The Norton Museum of Art collects, preserves, and exhibits art, and engages the public through diverse special exhibitions, publications, and events. Programs, lectures, and workshops are held year-round, with an emphasis on activating works on view and inspiring the public through the power of art. The Museum is internationally known for its collection of more than 8,400 works of art in American Art, Chinese Art, Contemporary Art, European Art, and Photography.

In 2019, The Museum underwent a comprehensive expansion and renovation, designed by London-based architecture firm Foster + Partners, adding a building which includes over 12,000 square feet of new gallery space, an educational center, a store and restaurant, a sculpture garden, and a Great Hall, serving as the Museum’s “living room.”  The new campus also features renovated, Museum-owned, 1920s-era cottages that house artists-in-residence.

Midnight Moment is made possible by the Times Square Advertising Coalition, ABC SuperSign, American Eagle, Branded Cities, Clear Channel, Coca-Cola, Disney Store, Diversified, Express, Heritage Outdoor Media, JCDecaux North America, Levi's, LG, Line Friends, McDonald's, Midtown Financial, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, New Tradition, Outfront, Prudential, Sensory Interactive, Sephora, Sherwood Equities, Show + Tell, Silvercast, Swatch, TSX, and T-Mobile.

Major support of Times Square Arts is provided by Morgan Stanley. Additional program support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul 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 Meta Open Arts and the Times Square Advertising Coalition.

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