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In concurrence with the Guggenheim Museum’s current exhibition “Under the Same Sun: Art from Latin America Today,” Alfredo Jaar’s A Logo for America will make its second appearance in Times Square since 1987. For the duration of August, the Times Square Advertising Coalition (TSAC), Times Square Arts, and the Guggenheim will organize the re-installation as part of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative.
In 1987, Jaar staged an intervention in Times Square through an animation bearing the words “This is not America.” The dictum, which was branded across the outline of the US border, called into question the meaning of “America,” a term that was singularly applied to only a portion of the continent. In the near 30 years since, nothing has changed, Jaar contends.
The static nature of our terminology amplifies the installation’s relevance. Jaar said of the project, “Language is not innocent and reflects a geopolitical reality. The use of the word ‘America’ in the USA, erroneously referring only to the USA and not to the entire continent is a clear manifestation of the political, financial, and cultural domination of the USA of the rest of the continent.”
A Logo for America will play every evening from 11:57pm to midnight on 15 signs and 45 screens throughout Times Square, requiring the largest effort in history to synchronize the content on its billboards. Yet, it is well worth the toil for as Harry Coghlan, Chairman of the TSAC, observed, “Alfredo Jaar’s piece shares an important message with those visiting from all over the world.”
Times Square will present A Logo for America from August 1–31. “Under the Same Sun: Art from Latin America Today” is on view through October 1, 2014.