All posts tagged: The High Line Park

El Anatsui Shows Both “Gravity and Grace” in New York

Post industrial African urban pointillist El Anatsui is outside at The High Line in Manhattan and inside the Brooklyn Museum right now to offer “Gravity and Grace”, two characteristics one may associate with the man himself.

Using aluminum bottle caps and similar mass consumer materials from his home country of Nigeria, the Ghana-born Anatsui paints temporary organic facades, glittering curtains, crumpled moonscapes that bend clumsily and undulate gracefully.  So familiar has he become with his materials over his four decade career, Anatsui can create translucent scrims to peer through and reptilian skinned impressionist coats of armor, each bending and folding of the metal fabric in service of a multitude of imaginations.

El Anatsui. “Peak”, 2010. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I have a desire to manipulate the material to get something else out of it,” he said during his recent talk with African art expert Susan Vogel and Kevin Dumouchelle, Associate Curator of Arts of Africa and the Pacific Islands at the museum before a capacity auditorium audience this month.

While speaking about his own approach to his practice, Anatsui showed a refreshingly straight forward investigative approach to his own process of discovery, perhaps explaining how such rigid materials are transformed by his hand into something flexible, malleable, free. “I have a feeling that artwork is a parallel of life, it is life itself. It is not something static. We are about changing, forever in a state of flux.  If that is the case then the artwork should be in a state of flux.”

El Anatsui. “Peak”, 2010. “Earth’s Skin” 2007 on the left. “Gravity and Grace”, 2010 on the right. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As he offers observations of his own culture and the effects of consumerism and globalism on it, he encourages you to take a hands-on approach to art making. A scholar and professor, El Anatsui’s practice has been rooted in the same D.I.Y. ethos that propelled many a street artist in the current global scene that emerged in the 2000s and 2010s.  Mining the diamonds in his backyard, El Anatsui models a personal mission that encourages artists to look at everyday consumer products and see their potential as high art, as vehicles for expression that go beyond craft making or green initiatives.

In an invitation to collaboration, El Anatsui appears to have a remarkably un-Diva-like disposition when it comes to how his work should be exhibited, inviting others to determine how to best display it according to their site-specific considerations. Speaking of his retrospective that ran from September through the end of 2012 at the Denver Art Museum, the artist expresses a gleeful sense of surprise at how curators there displayed his work. “I saw that they were able to mount some of the works very interestingly and they were able to give them shapes that I would not have thought about myself. “

El Anatsui. “Earth Skin”, 20o7. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn’s curator Dumouchelle used that same freedom to formulate exhibition decisions as he mounted work in the varied spaces for this show – to great effect. Describing the rationale for some of his curatorial choices, Dumouchelle talked about it this way to the artist, “We were very inspired by your admonition to collectors and curators to take your work and use it to respond to the space and that’s really what happened with ‘Gli’,” one of the larger works in the show.

“We had this incredible 72-foot rotunda that is very rarely used for art, ” says Dumouchelle, “Very rarely do we have art of the scale that will actually fill that space, so we wanted to think about how best to make use of that space. ‘Gli’ is designed as this sort of architectural environment where you find yourself as a visitor immersed and sort of surrounded by these works and so we wanted to make full use of the drama of that space.”

El Anatsui. “Gravity and Grace”, 2010. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The work of El Anatsui is equally charged and effective inside the formal exhibition and outside on the street, and New Yorkers are treated for free to the latter through the summer with “Broken Bridge II”, a huge work suspended along a passage of The High Line in Manhattan. With threadbare and broken pieces disrupting the glistening grid-like patterning, there are striking similarities to the work he hung outside the Palazzo Fortuny during his famed splash at the 2007 Venice Biennial. A patchwork effect that he associates with frugality and poverty, free hanging portions of “Broken Bridge II” are fluttering and gently knocking in the East River breezes on The High Line. Similarly, you are reminded of “Ozone Layer”, an aluminum and copper wire piece hanging in the museum with some sections loosely fluttering and banging against one another in the small breezes created by fans mounted into the wall.

In a video for the exhibition El Anatsui appears to dismiss formal art training and relies upon his own conviction, “All the things I was taught about in art school – I set about subverting them,” he appears to say with aplomb.  With “Gravity and Grace”, viewers will experience some sense of awe and unexpected appreciation for ingenuity and revealed beauty; a confirmation that El Anatsui’s steadfast dedication to his own exploration and instincts has expanded the options for artists who will follow.

El Anatsui. “Earth Skin”, 2010. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “Peak”, 2010. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “GLI (Wall)”, 2010. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “GLI (Wall)”, 2010. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “Ink Splash”, 2010. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “Drifting Continents”, 2009. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “Drifting Continents”, 2009. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “Drifting Continents”, 2009. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “Ozone Layer”, 2010. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “Red Block”, 2010. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “Amemo”, 2010. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “Broken Bridge II”, 2012. Detail. Currently on view at the High Line Park in NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “Broken Bridge II”, 2012. Detail. Currently at view on the High Line Park in NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For more information regarding the Exhibition “Gravity and Grace” at the Brooklyn Museum click here.

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Night Walk : The High Line Park in New York City

Every day you are rushing to jobs or gigs or interviews for jobs or gigs, negotiating the path through the rough loud place you love, New York. It’s tempting to stay inside your apartment or a bar at night – especially when the sun goes down so early, but you can actually have a great time for free if you take a walk along one of Manhattans newest thoroughfares. The High Line Park has been open since 2009 and after many visits we’ve decided that this vast path of urban infrastructure is one of the most successful of the city’s public works. It is a work of art, if you can excuse a bit of gushing. And it’s work of art you can sit inside – or stroll, or jog, or dance, or steal a kiss. Not hog-kissing, don’t get carried away you kids!

The High Line Park (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Viewed from the High Line at night, the city is close enough to touch but still out of reach, the winding path of the former shipping rail guides you through canyons of warehouses that loom to both sides and allow you a look inside. Distant buildings form mountain peaks in fluorescent reds and greens and blues jutting behind the buildings in your foreground, holding up the sky with triumphal color and illuminating a diorama of the city before you while the Hudson River glistens alongside. You have a front seat to see architectural design of many schools and gaze down upon the creeks and streams of lights below without worrying about dodging traffic or crossing a street – or paying the high rent this island demands now.

In summer months the landscaping is tamed-wild lushness, with a wide variety of plants, tree, flowers, and tall waving grasses.  Even in the off-season, the burnished hues and rusty textures bouncing in the cold breeze make sure the natural element takes a central role in a city which celebrates the man-made. The welcoming handsome furniture is integrated along the walkway to accompany, support, and even to facilitate lounging. What is amazing is how you can be firmly in the middle of an urban footprint and yet experience a sense of being in a serene environment.

The High Line Park (photo © Jaime Rojo)

On a recent evening there were few people walking and sitting in the hidden niches while we strolled up the High Line. People talk, gaze, and of course, take photos. In a semi enclosed underside of a warehouse a lone cello player filled the air with an achingly rich timber that reverberated directly through us like waves of amber.  Just one guy playing his instrument. Where are we, on top of the world? Yes, it’s New York again.

John Baldessari “The First $100,000 I Ever Made”. (photo © Jaime Rojo).

From the High Line Web Site : “High Line Art, presented by Friends of the High Line, today unveiled The First $100,000 I Ever Made, a new work created by legendary artist John Baldessari for the 25-by-75 foot billboard next to the High Line on 10th Avenue at West 18th Street. This is the first of three works to be presented as part of a new series called HIGH LINE BILLBOARD, thanks to the generous support of Edison Properties, the owner of the property on which the billboard stands. The First $100,000 I Ever Made will remain on view until Friday, December 30, 2011.”

The High Line Park (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The High Line Park (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The High Line Park (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The High Line Park (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The High Line Park (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The High Line Park (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The High Line Park (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The High Line Park (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The High Line Park (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The High Line Park (photo © Jaime Rojo)

No Sleep AKA Werds. The High Line Park (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The High Line Park (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The High Line Park (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The High Line Park (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The High Line Park (photo © Jaime Rojo)

To read BSA feature on the High Line Park at day time click here

To learn more about the High Line Park and how to help click here

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Images of the Week 11.13.11: JR’s “Inside Out” Project Special

Images of the Week 11.13.11: JR’s “Inside Out” Project Special

This week we take you to the scene of a brand new eye-opening JR installation in Manhattan – Seen from the outside and inside.

Street Artist JR continues to plaster parts of New York City with over-sized black and white portraits of Native Americans from North Dakota for his Inside Out Project. The images were taking by photographers in North Dakota and sent to the IOP to be printed and installed in Manhattan.

JR “Inside Out Project” First day installation on 10th Avenue. View from the High Line Park. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This newest installation took place this week over two days on four window panels in an empty retail space of a corner building in Chelsea. On the first day JR was on site lending a hand to the half dozen interns who came to help and to learn how to wheat paste in this cool little spot across from the High Line Park on 10 Ave and 19th Street.

A second installation went up on the windows on the 19th Street side of the building, providing a second pair of eyes to surveil the area.  The wind was gusting like a mad mother-in-law and the cold was almost bitter –  but that didn’t put a dent in the enthusiasm of the team made up of Natalie, Paola, Moira, Will, Nina, Nastasia, Rosie, Austin, Hillary, Gina and Rhiannon; Each have interned at either JR’s studio or with the Inside Out Project.  It was cool to see teamwork and good spirits intact promptly at 9:00 am as they set to unroll panels, fight the wind and slap up gallons of gooey wheat paste on the windows. Marc, from JR’s New York Studio was there to give a quick lesson wheat pasting and to oversee the installation.

JR “Inside Out Project” First day installation on 10th Avenue. Street level view. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR’s “Inside Out Project” second day begins on the window panels on 19th Street. Here is the mock up in hand. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR “Inside Out Project”  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR “Inside Out Project”  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR “Inside Out Project”  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR “Inside Out Project”  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR “Inside Out Project”  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR “Inside Out Project”  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR “Inside Out Project”  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR “Inside Out Project”. Process shot taking from inside the space. We gained access while a construction crew was pouring a cement floor getting the space ready for a retail tenant to move in. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR “Inside Out Project”. Process shot taking from inside the space. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR “Inside Out Project”  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR “Inside Out Project”  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR “Inside Out Project”  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR “Inside Out Project” tools of the trade. This wheat paste is said to be imported from France. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR “Inside Out Project”  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR “Inside Out Project”: Rosie was shooting with film for documentation. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Getting a look inside of the windows on 1oth Ave.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR “Inside Out Project” An inside view of the windows on 1oth Ave.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR “Inside Out Project”. Installation completed. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR “Inside Out Project” Inside view of the windows on 19th Street. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR “Inside Out Project”. Inside view of the corner window panels on 19th Street and 10th Ave. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR “Inside Out Project”. Same corner outside view. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR “Inside Out Project”  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR “Inside Out Project”  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR “Inside Out Project” An overview from the High Line Park. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Getting High on Public Space: Old Rollers and Urban Planning

Seen from the perch of the Highline, surrounded by a carefully curated urban wilderbush and postmodern biosculpture, the boisterous cacophony of the honking screeching streets below fades into a minimalist Phillip Glass plain, peppered with sharpened and sweet Sufjan Stevens sonnets and Nina Simone longings.  Sometimes NYC is best viewed and enjoyed from its high points. Most of the city is up here anyway.

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Revs and Cost. This tag by these legendary duo echoes despite power washing (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Summer streets are a swirling gritty brew of culture and commerce, happenings and happenstance. To have the opportunity to go to heaven without leaving earth or NYC for that matter is what a well designed public space like the Highline is successful at.  Of course it took years of fostering, finagling, financing.  A melding of vision and vitriol, the outcome has been an astounding urban oasis. Opened in June of 2009 it has been an instant success, attracting thousands daily.

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Ceptr (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A once abandoned carcass winding through this lower west side swath of Manhattan, the reclaimed former elevated freight railroad once connected factories and warehouses. Unused for nearly 30 years except by youthful graffiti artists and couples in love, it has debuted as on open pedestrian thoroughfare, a private and public place for citizenry, born from the vision of people and planners. As the second section opened last week the talents of so many are on display : architects, landscape designers, furniture designers, lighting designers and engineers all continue to work on its development (a 3rd phase is in the works) exhausting the limits of their talents and imagination to make this urban gem; a work of art in a city famous for being a difficult place to make things happen.

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Photo © Jaime Rojo

Here is a taste of the visual experience on the new section and some of the neighborhood it rises above and amidst; Blending the architecture with a bit of archeology, you can see old graffiti that was on the walls of the buildings next to it. It ads relevance, and interestingly, a sense of history, complimented by new commissioned public art installed along the park’s pathways and today’s Street Art below. Despite efforts to pressure wash some of these burners and rollers, one can still appreciate the outlines of the tags and the remnants of the paint on the brick walls; strains of an eroded and beautiful decay rising from the orchestra.

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Photo © Jaime Rojo

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Photo © Jaime Rojo

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Photo © Jaime Rojo

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A view of the old rail tracks and the possible future Section 3 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sarah Sze. An installation entitled “Still Life With Landscape (Model for Habitat)” Photo © Jaime Rojo

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Ms. Sze’s sculpture is for birds, butterflies and insects wtih perches, feeding spots and birdbaths. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sarah Sze. Animal dwellings against the backdrop of their fellow human dwellings (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Photo © Jaime Rojo

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Photo © Jaime Rojo

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Photo © Jaime Rojo

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Photo © Jaime Rojo

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Photo © Jaime Rojo

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Photo © Jaime Rojo

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An old Skullphone wheat paste  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The Park has been successful for business below with some new impresarios bringing amusements for children and adults (next to these balloons there is the beer garden). (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The view looking south (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The view looking East (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gaia installed this piece right below the park on the 20th St. entrance (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kenny Scharf right below the park near the 30th Street entrance (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For information about The High Line Park click on the link beow:

http://www.thehighline.org/

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