The exhibition will be divided between two floors, and into specific environments designed by the artist, who Norton says has been back and forth between the museum and his home in Trinidad—and often chats via Skype. “He’s fantastic,” she says. “He is very thoughtful and has been intimately involved with working on the exhibition,” she adds, recalling their conversations around ways to manipulate the museum’s architecture to create environments for the works. The fourth floor, she says, will be painted as a dreamlike environment, evoking a scene from the 1947 film Black Narcissus, and filled with brightly colored paintings from Ofili’s Ovid-inspired “Metamorphoses” series, alongside brand new paintings. Just below, the third floor will be reborn as a “chapel-like” environment, filled with nine subtle, twilight-blue paintings originating from his “Blue Rider” series. “I think it will offer a quieter moment in the exhibition, and will force viewers to spend time with the paintings; and to see these subtleties emerge.”
“We are used to people not having patience...in museums, seeing something quickly, taking a snapshot of it with their phone and putting it on Instagram and that’s it,” Norton says. Like the Kjartansson exhibition, “Night and Day” will ask viewers to spend time with the work. And Norton herself will likely be caught lingering in the chapel-like room: “Many of these works I have never seen in person, and know that they will be completely different and much more complex than the images that we have seen through reproductions,” she says. But that is the gift (and the curse) of being a 21st-century curator—a role Norton is taking in stride.