bronx, grand concourse, Highways, hipstamatic, new york, NYC, Photography, Travel
Posts Tagged ‘NYC’
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.
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.
1 tr, broadway, bronx, elevated, monochrome, new york, NYC, Photography, subway, Wordless Wednesday
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.
architecture, chelsea, monochrome, new york, new york city, NYC, Photography, Wordless Wednesday
Today we look back at the November 15 Ambient-Chaos night at Spectrum in New York. Spectrum is a new loft space dedicated to experimental music, and I was happy to have the opportunity to both hear new music and perform there.
The performance opened with LathanFlinAli, a trio consisting of Lathan Hardy on saxophone, Sean Ali on bass and Flin van Hemmen on drums.
Their music was an intense free-jazz style that moved between individual hits, bends and other sounds to more idiomatic and rhythmic sections. Every so often the intensity would swell to a loud hit or brief run on all three instruments.
The trio was followed by Groupthink an electronic duo featuring Darren Bergstein and Edward Yuhas. While the first performance was all about percussive hits and rhythms, this set was the complete opposite with ambient drones and thick electronic textures.
Throughout the evening, large programmable lights were pulsating, casting different color patterns on the wall and onto the stage. It probably worked best with Groupthink’s music.
It was then time to take the stage. I brought a relatively compact instrumental rig with a laptop, iPad, a garrahand (a metal drum from Argentina), a Luna NT analog synthesizer and a DSI Evolver.
The garrahand was the centerpiece of the set, both as solo tuned percussion and as a source for laptop-based processing. The texture of the overall performance was quite varied, ranging from analog noise to more melodic phrases on the percussion instruments. You can see a brief excerpt of this set in this video:
The final set featured Charity Chan on piano and Lukas Ligeti on drums. From the start, the pair’s sound was loud, aggressive and highly percussive. Chan definitely put the piano through a workout with her intense playing both on the keyboard and on the strings inside the instrument:
Ligeti was equally intense on drums, moving between loud hits and resonances.
The motion required for this music made the pair fun to watch as well as listen to.
Overall, it was a fun night of music and great way to start things out in New York. I am grateful to Robert Pepper (PAS) and Glenn Cornett
for hosting me at Spectrum, and hope to play there again.