When I first moved back to New York after college, I began to notice that the word, "pray" had been scratched into a multitude of surfaces in places as diverse as office buildings, Macy's windows and the Empire State Building. After seeing a multitude, I forgot about them until last week, when I saw this in the subway, on the wall, across the rails. It's a miracle they got there.
I'm still thinking through the Waterfalls. I've visited several times after discovering one of the best ways to see one of them is the Governors Island FREE ferry.
I've been thinking about the shapes the water makes and how hard it is to get a good photograph. Still, I keep on going seeing if each time something new unfolds.
Govenors Island is fun too. Lots to do, walking and picnicing, historic buildings and forts, a straight on view of the Statue of Liberty's face, occasional concerts and more art. And on Fridays the bike rentals are free.
Emergence by Figment transforms "Building 14" (c.1900) on Governors Island into an interactive, three-dimensional living exhibit, featuring contributions from more than 30 artists/art collectives working in a diverse range of media, including sculpture, installation art, aerial kinetic sculpture, photography, sound art, and interactive multimedia. Using the theme, "Creative Pioneers in Uncharted Territory," exhibitors will use the context, history, and recent steps towards revitalization, or "emergence," of Governors Island as the source of inspiration and departure for the creation of participatory art exploring the human condition.
A new work by David Byrne, of Talking Heads Fame, Playing the Building is a clever idea. Take one old and slightly decrepit space, add sound, make it interactive and invite the public. This sound installation converts the physical infrastructure into a giant musical instrument. Devices are attached to the the metal beams and pillars, the heating pipes, the water pipes — and are used to make these things produce sound. The activations are of three types: wind, vibration, striking. The devices do not produce sound themselves, but they cause the building elements to vibrate, resonate and oscillate. All the devices are attached to an old organ which the public can play.
It was first done in Sweden in 2005 but the New York version is much grittier and has more pathos. Sponsored by Creative Time, you can catch it at the Battery Maritime Building, 10 South Street at Whitehall Street.
There's a first for everything. An avid cook and a former student of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's course on unusual fruits and vegetables and true fan of molecular cuisine, I'm not surpised by much in the food world. Yet right here on East Broadway, the marvelous hot fuschia Dragon Fruit. May be the next New York phenomena...
I recently ate at WD-50, one of New York's outposts of molecular cuisine. The food was incredibly tasty, very elegant and it was also very funny. I started thinking about how our relarionship to food has changed. Divorced from "eat to live", like everything else these days, food seems to be all about entertainment. These two images represent this trend as well. One is high end artisinal tofu packaging; a thrusting fist asking, "Are you Jonile tonight?" The other is an obento lunch box; the contents artfully arranged to resemble the Mona Lisa, seaweed hair and clothes, framed by a sliced egg omelette. O brave new world that has such tofu in it.
The current Salvador Dali exhibition at MoMA leaves one in a surreal state of mind. Everything looks slightly askew. Take this image for example; serene, beautiful and slightly strange. A composed unearthly background for a landscape of dead birds. The sign says Natural History but the mind begs to differ.
I fell in love with Ed Rucha's books in the 1960s. I bought several and my favorite was "Nine Swimming Pools and a Broken Glass." I never paid more than a few dollars for each of them. Recently I parted with "Nine Swimming Pools." It was valued at $1200. That represented a lot of canvas, paper and paint to me. It just shows you, it pays to invest in art.
One of the joys in life is seeing new faces and meeting new people. The same holds true for art, these are two of the new faces I encountered at the Metropolitan Museum recently. It is such a large museum that even though I've been frequenting it for 50 plus years I always discover something new.
Continuing on the thread of language. I went to the American Museum of Natural History. I was looking at what is sometimes called "Primitive" art. If I looked at the same pieces from a perspective of emotional intelligence the balance seemed to shift. I was most struck by a mask in the hall of the Northwest Coast Indians. It had a series of interchangeable mouths that could change the expression of the mask. It seemed modern and fitting for today. After all, aren't we in an election year?
Recently I walked through South Street Seaport. I was astounded by how "mainstream" it had become. Ann Taylor to Foot Locker to the United Colors of Benetton, an alphabet of all the usual suspects. I didn't recognize it as New York at all. Last summer too, in Montreal, I saw the same alphabet. We all speak the same language and it's called "Universal Retail".
It was a relief to head for chinatown for some Shanghai cuisine. At least it's one part of the city, vibrant and quirky, still with it's own visual dialect. Art spoken here.
These were some of Eliasson's pieces that I really loved. Seeing them in the museum allowed you to experience the subtle transitions in the works. The clamor of the crazy New York river made it very hard to see the subtle variations in the changing patterns of the Waterfalls. Doesn't mean I won't go again, if there's one thing I know you have to make time for art.
Susan Shaw is an internationally exhibited painter and photographer. Private and public collections include the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Shaw is the recipient of two New York State Artist’s Fellowships and 2007/2009 residency fellowships at the Vermont Studio Center.
Kurt Hoss is a freelance photographer capturing the exuberance of
New York City for 35 years. A favorite project has been documenting life in south western Louisiana, culminating in two recent books, Going to Lafayette and Bosco Swamp.
Shaw and Hoss recently received an AVA gold award for video production, as producers of The Mermaid Parade.