Stan Douglas, Penn Station’s Half Century — Stefan Zebrowski-Rubin

[Summer 2021]

Penn Station’s Half Century
Moynihan Train Hall, New York City

By Stefan Zebrowski-Rubin

Beams of light shine across an abandoned hall stacked with suitcases. Groups of men assemble at various points as a woman, clipboard in hand, takes inventory by the marble-cladded information desk. In the foreground, a Victorian-style lamppost lies on its side. Looking beyond the central scene, one sees that the floor ends abruptly; the wall and column are only half built – we’re on a soundstage in Hollywood in September 1944.

The final vignette in a nine-panel work by Canadian photographer (and 2016 Hasselblad Award winner) Stan Douglas set in New York’s Penn Station, the photograph described above replicates the L.A. set of The Clock, which could not be filmed on location due to the Second World War. These layers of fact and fiction perfectly exemplify Douglas’s work and its sweeping ambition. Penn Station’s Half Century (2020), installed alongside a ceiling sculpture by Elmgreen & Dragset and a stained-glass work by Kehinde Wiley, make up the commission organized by the Public Art Fund and Empire State Development for the Moynihan Train Hall in New York City and unveiled in January 2021. The skill and ambition shown in these breath-taking tableaux inspire curiosity and expectation for Douglas’s representation of Canada at 2022 Venice Biennale.


See the magazine for the complete article and more images: Ciel variable 117 – SHIFTED