Shimon Attie, American, born 1957; The Crossing
(video still), Shimon Attie, 2017; Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, NY
Artist Shimon Attie's
film The Crossing
opens in an empty former casino with several gamblers sitting around a slowly-spinning roulette table. The casino is quiet and the players hold static poses. Each places a bet and then, one by one, the gamblers disappear from the table. At the end of the film, a single player remains.
The gamblers are played not by traditional actors, but by Syrian refugees. At the time of production, the refugees had recently arrived in Europe, some having crossed the Mediterranean Sea on rafts. While the game is played, the sounds of wind and water can be heard in the background, a constant reminder of the life-threatening journey refugees undertake to reach Europe. According to Attie, "The Crossing
reflects the extraordinary risks migrants are forced to take in times of crisis, literally gambling for their lives."
Attie is the recipient of the 2016-2017 Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Fellowship
, which includes a residency at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis
and the Currents
exhibition at the Museum, which is on view concurrently in Gallery 210, Main Building. The Crossing
is the latest installment in the Museum's New Media Series
and will be the film's public debut.
New Media Series: Shimon Attie
is curated by Hannah Klemm
, assistant curator of modern and contemporary art, with Molly Moog, research assistant. This presentation is generously supported by the Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Endowment Fund.