Tag Archive | Creative Time

Fly By Night: Pigeons Light Up the NYC Sky Through June 12th!

Fly By Night
All Photos and Video By Gail

Hey, you know what would be crazy fun idea? What if you took 2,000 trained pigeons and attached tiny, lightweight LED lights to their little legs, and then set them free into the night sky, where they would fly around and put on a light show? How much would that rule? I can tell you the answer: It would rule so much, because it is a thing called Fly By Night, and you can see it for yourself!

Weekends through June 12th, 2016, Creative Time and the Brooklyn Navy Yard will present Fly By Night, artist Duke Riley’s public artwork of unprecedented scale and beauty. Fly By Night is Riley’s largest project to date.

Friday through Sunday evenings at dusk, a massive flock of pigeons will elegantly twirl, swoop, and glide above the East River, as Riley orchestrates a series of performances occurring regularly throughout late spring. At the call of a whistle, thousands of birds will emerge from their home in a grand, converted historic boat docked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The pigeons will circle above the river as the sun sets over Manhattan, and small leg bands, historically used to carry messages, will be replaced with tiny LED lights, illuminating the sky in a transcendent union of public art and nature.

Let’s Go To The Video!

OMG so cool. I took this video as I watched Fly By Night with my neighbor, Lorrie, from the lower Manhattan waterfront adjacent to the East River Park Amphitheater.

East River Park Amphitheater

Cross the highway at the overpass one block south of Grand Street and the Amphitheater is right there.

View Towards Brooklyn

Find a bench to rest on and look south toward those two tall concrete towers with the red lights at the top. That’s approximately were the pigeons will be flying. We got there just at 8:00 PM and the pigeons probably took off around 8:15 PM. Your mileage may vary. They fly for about 45 minutes, and it is a pretty good show for free. You should check it out

Find out more about Fly By Night by visiting Creative Time Dot Org at This Link!

Fly By Night 2
“Fly By Night Away From Here…”

Kara Walker’s Sugar Sphinx at the Domino Sugar Factory

Kara Walker Sugar Sphinx
All Photos by Gail

The most popular art exhibit in the city right now is Kara Walker’s massive Sugar Sphinx: the crouching figure of an African America woman, completely covered in white, refined sugar, which was constructed over an eight week period in the cavernous interior of the now defunct Domino Sugar Factory building that faces the waterfront in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Subtlety Artist Statement

Sponsored by Creative Time, Subtlety, as the piece is officially named, is the first large-scale public project by the internationally renowned Walker. Sited in the sprawling industrial relics of Brooklyn’s legendary Domino Sugar Factory, Walker’s physically and conceptually expansive work responds to both the building and its history, exploring a radical range of subject matter and marking a major departure from her practice to date. The exhibition promises to be an eye-opening experience for both those who are familiar with Walker’s work and those who are new to it.

Creative Time Sign

I visited the Sphinx with a friend on a Sunday afternoon, arriving 10 minutes before they started letting people in at Noon, and waited only about 20 additional minutes before we were inside. Be forewarned that this is a very popular attraction. Within ten minutes of joining the line at South 2nd Street and Kent Avenue, the line already stretched another block behind us and continued to grow. So, be sure to pee and eat before you get there, wear comfortable shoes and sun block, and be prepared to wait for as long as it takes, because you are on an Urban Adventure!

Sphinx Distance Shot

The Sphinx only takes up about one-third of the space, so you get to enjoy the emptiness of the gutted factory and imagine what it must have been like when it was full of machinery and people and sugary substances – the residue of which still covers the buildings interior surfaces. I love walking around inside abandoned buildings, so this was a huge treat for me for that reason alone.

Abandoned Factory Interior Shot

Sugar Baby with Basket

Sugar Baby's Basket

In addition to the Sphinx, there are perhaps a dozen five-foot high molasses-based sculptures of young boy laborers, many carrying wide baskets which hold sugar in its various states.

Sugar Crystal Chunks in Basket

Sugar Crystal Chunks

The boy sculptures range in hue from deep brown and nearly black to crystalline amber. Thin puddles of dark molasses expands across the floor from the bases of these figures as they have started to slowly melt.

Sugar Baby Close Up

Sugar Baby with Molasses Trail

The Huffington Post has an excellent article on the Sugar Sphinx, including an interview with Kara Walker, which reveals a lot of the theoretical groundwork for the project and will give you some perspective that may be useful to consider when viewing the exhibit, because it’s a pretty heavy deal.

Sugar Sphinx Side View

Knuckles Detail
Detail of Her KnucklesSugar Sphinx Rear View
Rear View

I had a great time seeing the Sugar Sphinx and her Molasses Babies. Once you are inside, you can stroll around and take photos for as long as you like, and the temperature stays pretty cool and comfortable even on a warm day (it was near 70 on the day I went). There are also tons of restaurants in the area, so it’s super easy to find a place to have a nice lunch or dinner once you are done with your visit.

Subtlety, Or The Marvelous Sugar Baby (aka The Sugar Sphinx), By Kara Walker will be on Exhibit at the Abandoned Domino Sugar Factory, located at South 1st Street and Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, until July 6th, 2014. Hours are 4 – 8 PM on Fridays and Noon – 6 PM Saturdays and Sundays. Expect a wait of 30 Minutes Up to Over an Hour (Totally Worth it). The Exhibit is Free and Open to the Public. Take the L Train to Bedford Avenue and Walk South West for about 15 Minutes. The J or M Trains to the Marcy Avenue Exit will also get you there.