Filmed from artist T. J. Wilcox’s studio high above Union Square, the panoramic installation In the Air offers a dynamic 360-degree view of New York City. As a full day unfolds in a 35-minute loop, short narrative films interrupt the panorama, transporting visitors from the top of the city to more intimate settings, such as Andy Warhol’s Factory and socialite Gloria Vanderbilt’s apartment. Though mythologized, these stories take root in locations that can be seen from the studio’s unique rooftop vantage point.
For Wilcox, the studio’s spectacular views began as an obstacle to production, but became, in his words, a chance to grapple with the city he had lived in most of his life: “As I looked east or west or south, I started to remember things that had happened to me in different places, because I’ve spent more than 20 years in the city. . . I became really interested in that idea of looking at this view in the present and past tenses simultaneously. It was all so richly layered.”* While Wilcox was working on the piece, artist Marco Anelli photographed Wilcox’s studio, seeking to draw out these subjective strata using visual strategies including multiple exposures. Like In the Air, Anelli’s images simultaneously offer an atmospheric overview and an unusually personal level of access. Beyond documenting Wilcox’s installation by way of the space that inspired it, they create a new, psychologically charged environment that mirrors the panorama’s transporting effects.
*Elizabeth Peyton, interview with T. J. Wilcox. Interview Magazine, September 2013.