Sarah Morris

Lower Manhattan Expressway

February 17 - May 7 2016


Le ‘Mur’ rue Saint-Bon presents Sarah Morris’s ‘Lower Manhattan Expressway’, 2016, a site-specic installation.
The title of this large-scale, vibrant wall painting refers to the Lower Manhattan Expressway (LoMEX), the most visionary architectural proposal

« a glorious nightmare » in Mahanttan; a city-planning project originally initiated in the late 1920s and eventually approved in the 1940s by Robert Moses, the then City Parks Commissioner and Arterial Coordinator, now considered one of the key gures in the history of urban planning in the United States. The plan was radically revised by the legendary Paul Rudolph in 1967, commissioned by the Ford Foundation. He proposed a megastructure of expressway, residential living and public space. Despite Rudolphs vision and in uence, the project was of cially abandoned in the Seventies as the city sunk into economic decline. 

Sarah Morris, in The Paul Rudolph building     © Wendy Bowman

Sarah Morris, in The Paul Rudolph building © Wendy Bowman

« He had built bridges, highways, parks, and housing towers with astonishing speed, and his works had transformed New York. He was responsible for thirteen bridges, two tunnels, 637 miles of highways, 658 playgrounds, ten giant public swimming pools, seventeen state parks and dozens of new or renovated city parks... He built Lincoln Center, the United Nations, Shea Stadium, Jones Beach, and the Central park Zoo. He built the Triborough and Verrazano-Narrows bridges, the Long Island and Cross Bronx Expressways, parkways down the side of Manhattan and north and east of the city avenues, overpasses, causeways, and viaducts. Any New Yorker or visitor to the city has at one time or another driven down, walked through, sat in, or sailed into something that Moses created ... He had mingled with the Queen, the pope, world leaders, presidents, governors, and mayors. It had been a great run, and Moses longed tonish it off with the Lower Manhattan Expressway».


Moses believed LoMEX was « not just a roadway, but economic salvation ». Sarah Morris’s ‘Lower Manhattan Expressway’, (2016) in Paris, evidently echoes Haussman’s 19th century renovation of the French Capital –as well as today’s citizens strong opposition to any kind of transformation in the city– and the current ‘Grand Paris’ project as a way to extend the metropolis.  She describes it is ‘portal’ to another time, place, and city.

It is indeed a ‘transportation mechanism’.

Sarah Morris’s paintings and movies explore and depict the city as a stage where underlying interests (power, money, control) interact in various ways.Morris transposes them into a very speci c aesthetic language – the same way Piet Mondrian transposed in 1942-43 his fascination for New-York architecture and Jazz music into ‘New-York Boogie Woogie’ (MoMA). Her paintings sophisticated diagrams and complex color range have positioned her over the years as one of the most inventive contemporary artists, while their themes and hidden connotations inscribe the language of abstraction in very political and curent terms.

Eric Troncy. 



Recent exhibitions include: 

M Museum, Leuven (2015) ; Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen (2013) ; Musée National Fernand Léger, Biot (2012) ; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2012) ; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2009) ; Museo d’Arte Moderna, Bologna (2009) ; Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel (2008).