Just a bit to the right: From When Faith Moves Mountains, 2002
Museum of Modern Art/Courtesy 2011 Francis Alys
Just a bit to the right: From When Faith Moves Mountains, 2002

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Francis Alˇs: A Story of Deception
The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd Street
212-708-9400, moma.org
Through August 1

MoMA P.S.1
22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City
718-784-2084, ps1.org
Through September 12

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Orchestrated for the Lima Biennale (by this time, the Belgian had become a favorite of the festival circuit, despite his sending a peacock in his stead to the Venice shindig as a “get stuffed” gesture), this action consisted of 500 shovel-toting volunteers spading a massive sand dune forward two inches. Performed and duly recoded in an area where millions of displaced people still live today, Alÿs presented a real-life parable for the faithful and faithless alike. Social mobilization or political engagement as a mirage? Mountains were moved. Despite the video record, the drawings, the collages, and mock-didactic paraphernalia, the artist finally, generously leaves it for the viewer at MOMA to decide.

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