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Posts Tagged ‘new york’
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Among my first stops during this year’s New York trip was the New Museum, which is currently featuring a museum-wide exhibition of works by Chris Burden.
His work spans several decades and includes sculpture, performances and pieces that blur the boundary between the two. While the exhibition officially focuses on “weights and measures, boundaries and constraints”, the theme that seem to most unify all the pieces was “play”. Certainly, he has access to toys on larger scale than most of us could only dream of as kids who loved building sets. This was most apparent in his series of bridges, made from custom erector sets and other materials.
Similar principles are at work in his large-scale sculptures, which use metal and found material and also included a sense of motion. The Big Wheel is indeed a huge wheel constructed from weathered metal.
It is designed to spin freely, and visitors are treated to a twice-a-day “performance” of the piece where a motorcycle is used to start the wheel spinning. You can see a bit of this in the following video:
A nearby sculpture address the absence of motion with a perfectly balanced Porsche and meteorite. I am curious as to how Burden obtained such a large meteorite to use in this piece.
Motion is taken to another extreme in an outdoor piece (shown as video documentation in the exhibition) where large steel beams are dropped into a pool of wet cement. As the positions, angles, are unpredictable, the result is a rather chaotic jumble of vertical steel spires. The video itself is quite interesting with the motion of the cement in response to the the dropping beams.
Perhaps the element of play is most apparent (and most poignant) in A Tale of Two Cities. Burden constructs a tableaux of two city-states at war using sand, plants and a large array of toys.
Some of these toys (in particular, a few of the space-themed toys) were familiar from my own childhood. And certainly we sometimes created battles with them. But those fantasies never touched on the realities of war, and somehow Burden made that very apparent in this piece. Perhaps it was the presence of bullets among the toys that made it seem like something very, very bad could come of this.
The exhibition also includes other conceptual pieces, as well as some examples of Burden’s early video work, which was interesting precisely because it seems dated.
Chris Bürden: Extreme Measures will be on display at the New Museum through January 12, 2014.
architecure, hipstamatic, lower east side, new york, new york city, NYC, Photography, water tower, Wordless Wednesday
It’s time once again for the annual pilgrimage to New York. In addition to family and friends, there will be much art-seeing and urban exploration, and two electronic-music performances. If you are in New York over the next two weeks, I invite you to come check them out.
Tuesday, November 26, 7:30
Ambient-Chaos presents Schyuler Tsuda, Amar Chaudhary (San Francisco), John Dunlop, RMA Trio
121 Ludlow St, Second Floor, New York
Robert L. Pepper (PAS) presents a night of Ambient-Chaos featuring Schyuler Tsuda, Amar Chaudhary (San Francisco), John Dunlop, RMA Trio. THE EVENT STARTS EARLY!. So please be there by 7:30 to settle in and enjoy the frequencies.
Saturday, November 30
Rachel Mason, The Use, and Amar Chaudhary at Harvestworks
Harvestworks, Broadway&Houston, New York
5.1 Surround surround performance at Harvestworks with Rachel Mason and The Use (Michael Durek), additional A/V element from Jay Van Dyke; and a set from Amar Chaudhary a.k.a. CatSynth.
I did want to include some analog modular elements in these performances, so I put together a miniature version of the rig featuring a cross section of modules, with an emphasis on live processing (Make Noise Echophon) and chaotic oscillation.
There is a mixture of stress, melancholy and chill in the air. So it seems like a good time for another fun with highways. Today we look at the southern extension of the Bronx River Parkway. It veers away from the verdant parkland along the river that contains the Bronx Zoo into a dense section of the central and south Bronx, crossing both the Cross Bronx (I-95) and Bruckner (I-278) Expressways before ending at an odd ramp onto Story Avenue in the Soundview neighborhood.
It was built in 1950s, long after the northern more park-like sections of the parkway were built. It does have a small strip of parkland to either side for most of the length, but with the surrounding neighborhood quite visible, include the commercial strip along Westchester Avenue and the elevated tracks for the 6 subway line. Indeed, the parkway is visible from the platform at the Morrison-Soundview station over Westchester Avenue.
The southern terminus is a bit unusual, with ramps south of Bruckner Expressway to Story Avenue through bare parkland. It looks as if something more ambitious was planned here.
The Soundview neighborhood has a lot of the large brick apartment buildings found in other parts of the Bronx. These ones look to date back to the 1940s, though I can’t say for certain.
[Photo by Wikiki718 on Wikimedia Commons.]
The deep sunset light off the buildings is something sees quite often in the city in the late autumn and winter and the days shrink. I find the image fits my mood at this moment.
Today we look at the city of Kingston, New York. Kingston is about 90 miles north of New York City on the west bank of the Hudson River. It was the first state capital of New York in 1777. For those of us in the world of electronic and experimental music, the city is the current home of renowned composer and musical innovator Pauline Oliveros as well as the Deep Listening Institute which she founded.
Kingston is also the location of one of the most obscure and oddest Interstate highways, I-587.
I-587, known as Colonel Chandler Drive, is co-signed with NY 28. It is a full freeway from it’s start at a traffic circle near the New York State Thruway (I-87) to its eastern terminus at an intersection with NY 32 (Albany Avenue) in downtown Kingston. Other than its termini, it has no exits. It also never meets its parent route, I-87, though the traffic circle at the western end does connect to Exit 19 of the Thruway.
I-587 is signed along its route and at either end, but there is no mention of it on signs for Exit 19 on the Thruway. Thus, travelers on I-87 would never even know its there unless they took the exit and encountered the signs at the traffic circle.
By coincidence, I will participating in a performance of Pauline Oliveros’ The Heart Chant with the Cardow Choir at this year’s Garden of Memory event in Oakland. You can read past reviews of this unique yearly event and here. As for The Heart Chant itself:
This participatory Deep Listening meditation is a gesture of sonic healing for all beings and circumstances that need healing. It was created in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. “Ah” is a vocal sound associated with the heart shakra.
Anyone at the Chapel of the Chimes tonight is welcome to participate in singing this piece. There will also be numerous other performances by noted Bay Area musicians, and I hope to see as many of them as I can. You can follow along with me on Twitter @catsynth with hashtag #gardenofmemory.
I am always on the lookout for art that celebrates the landscape and texture of the city in unique ways. Shai Kremer’s solo exhibition at Robert Koch Gallery in San Francisco, Concrete Abstract & Notes From the Edge, fits this goal perfectly. Through choice of setting and compositional techniques, Kremer presents views of New York that are outside the usual iconography of the city.
[Installation view. Image courtesy of Robert Koch Gallery.]
In Concrete Abstract, Kremer looks at the reconstruction efforts at the World Trade Center site. The large-scale photographs feature overlaid images of the construction at the site between 2001 and 2012 and look quite abstract and fantastical even as they reveal real elements such as girders, concrete columns and pipes.
[Shai Kremer, Concrete Abstract #5: World Trade Center 2001 - 2012 (2013). Pigment ink print. Image courtesy of Robert Koch Gallery.]
On one level, a viewer aware of the fact that these are from the World Trade Center site can look for elements that one expects in a large-scale construction project, as well as reminders of the destruction and recover efforts that preceded. However, one can also look at all the layers together to reveal and imaginary future city on an immense scale not yet realized, something out of Metropolis or any number of dystopian urban films. In Concrete Abstract #5, shown above, the concrete skeleton of the floors of the building with their columns become a three-dimension grid of city blocks, with the overlays providing the individual character of each block, some bustling with movement, others looking a bit forlorn.
In Notes From the Edge, Kremer focuses on details and landscapes at the periphery of the city, with the familiar shapes of the Manhattan skyline visible in the distance. The famous cityscape becomes a background to help frame the true subjects of the pieces.
[Shai Kremer, Waterfront, Brooklyn (2010). Pigment ink print. Image courtesy of Robert Koch Gallery]
Kremer explores a variety of locations and elements in this series, ranging from the decaying structures on the Brooklyn waterfront shown above to the clean lines and geometry of the Liberty State Park memorial in New Jersey. There is a painterly quality to the photographs which makes the foreground elements seem like an imaginary projection onto the real city. In making real images of the urban landscape seem more fantastic, Kremer unites this series with the pieces in Concrete Abstract. Taken together, we imagine a city as an unimaginable hive of activity at its core and quiet haunted decaying spaces at its edges.
Kremer’s work in both series is technically strong and demonstrates how simple but unexpected elements can be combined to make views of the city that are unique and celebratory without being overly romantic. This is a quality that makes for great urban art (and great art in general).
The exhibition will remain on display at Robert Koch Gallery through Saturday, June 15. If you are in San Francisco this Friday or Saturday, I strongly recommend checking it out.
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Today, we visit the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge to mark the passing today of former New York Mayor Ed Koch. The bridge, which carries New York State Route 25 from Queens to its terminus in Manhattan at 2nd Avenue, is known locally at the “59th Street Bridge.” It’s actually over 100 years old, having opened in 1909.
The Queens side connects to a tangled nexus of ramps that are mixed up with elevated subway structures. And as these structures are all aging, they become interesting photographic subjects. The bridge was named in honor of the former mayor in 2010.
Here is cute video that has been circulating today, in which Mayor Koch welcomes passersby (including the current mayor) to “my bridge”. (You need only watch the segment until about 2:00)
It’s very typical of his style, being a larger-than-life character but also a bit self-deprecating. It is quintessentially “New York”. From the New York Times obituary:
…out among the people or facing a news media circus in the Blue Room at City Hall, he was a feisty, slippery egoist who could not be pinned down by questioners and who could outtalk anybody in the authentic voice of New York: as opinionated as a Flatbush cabby, as loud as the scrums on 42nd Street, as pugnacious as a West Side reform Democrat mother.
I did have the opportunity to meet him twice on visits back from Yale to New York City, as part of the Yale Political Union. Although my colleagues seemed to treat him rather coldly, I was quite happy for the experience.