Midnight Moment 10th Anniversary
In April 2022, Times Square Arts celebrates the 10 year anniversary of its Midnight Moment program, the world’s largest and longest-running digital public art exhibition synchronized on electronic billboards in Times Square nightly from 11:57pm to midnight. The program, which began on just six screens in Times Square, has expanded to display artwork on over 90 billboards throughout the district.
To celebrate this milestone, Times Square Arts has launched a special program featuring the video work of twelve women over the course of a year, from April 2022 through March 2023. Presenting artists include legendary video artist Joan Jonas, biology-inspired artist Sofia Crespo, new media artist and creative technologist LaJuné McMillian, new media artist Nancy Baker Cahill, and multi-disciplinary artist and performer Kilo Kish.
The 10-year anniversary pays homage to the female administrators, artists, and programmers who have been influential in staging public art takeovers on the commercial billboards of Times Square. In 1982, artist Jane Dickson—who worked as a programmer for 1 Times Square—and Jenny Dixon, the Acting Director of Public Art Fund at the time, launched Messages to the Public, 1982-1990. It marked the earliest presentation of artists' work on the Spectacolor sign, the very first electronic billboard in the history of the district. In the years that followed, public arts organization Creative Time presented video programs such as The 59th Minute, 2000-2006 and 44 ½, 2009-2011, led by then-director Anne Pasternak. In 2012, Sherry Dobbin, then Times Square Arts’ Director, officially launched the Midnight Moment program.
The Midnight Moment program, which has an estimated annual viewership of nearly 1.5 million, has brought innovative, spectacular, strange, and accessible public art to New Yorkers and visitors from across the globe, 364 nights a year, for a decade. Featuring a new Midnight Moment each month, Times Square Arts has presented the work of over 115 artists, including Yoko Ono, Nick Cave, Rashaad Newsome, and Laurie Anderson, and more recently, David Hockney, Shantell Martin, Kambui Olujimi, Sondra Perry, Jeffrey Gibson, and Pamela Council.
To kick off the anniversary, Times Square Arts will present artist Joan Jonas’s Wolf Lights (2004-2005) for the month of April, a video installation that depicts a female figure in a paper-maché wolf mask moving gracefully against the backdrop of a Las Vegas lightscape. In May, Times Square Arts will show Sofia Crespo’s video work, Critically Extant, a project that explores just how little we know about the natural world through testing the limits of the data openly available to us in our digital lives. In the months to follow, the program will feature LaJuné McMillan, Nancy Baker Cahill, Kilo Kish, and more.
Credits and Acknowledgements
Support for Midnight Moment is provided by Meta Open Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Times Square Advertising Coalition. Major support of Times Square Arts is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and 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.
The Midnight Moment program is made possible thanks to the Times Square Advertising Coalition and our billboard operators: ABC SuperSign, American Eagle, Branded Cities, Clear Channel, Disney Store, Express, Levi's, LG, Luxottica Group S.p.A., Morgan Stanley, Microsoft, New Tradition, Sensory Interactive, Sephora, Sherwood Equities, Show + Tell, Silvercast, Swarovski, T-Mobile, and JCDecaux.