Tag Archive | Installation

Yes, It Exists: A NYC Loft Apartment Filled With Dirt

New York Earth Room
Photo By John Cliett Courtesy of the Dia Art Foundation

Do you like discovering weird stuff in NYC that hardly anybody else seems to know about? I sure do. A couple of years ago, Geoffrey told me about a visit he made to an art installation in SoHo which consisted of one loft apartment filled, wall-to-wall, with a waist-high layer of dirt. And I was like, “That sounds pretty weird.” Then I basically forgot all about it, until earlier this week, when I was looking for a way kill an hour between leaving the office and attending an art opening. The gallery I was going to just happened to be located around the corner from what I had been referring to as The Dirt Apartment, which is officially called the New York Earth Room, so I decided to check it out.

NY Earth Room Sign

The Earth Room is located on the second floor of an otherwise nondescript building on a block mostly occupied by prohibitively expensive designer clothing boutiques, and you have to be buzzed in from the street. A sign in the lobby tells you to walk one floor up the narrow stairs to reach your desired destination, and then you really can’t miss it. There’s a small reception area at the far end, with the viewing area of the Earth Room just past the entrance, on your right. When you first enter the space, it feels like you are in a sauna: hot, humid, almost stifling — but, despite the obvious lack of air-conditioning, the docent on duty, Brian, who was wearing a wool sweater, told me that after being in the room for a few minutes, it actually starts to feel cold in there. I was skeptical, but he was right.

The Earth Room is a loft space that spans half a city block. There are two support columns piercing the soil to your left and you can see windows on both sides of the loft. The windows on the right face Wooster Street, and ones on the left probably face a courtyard or airshaft. There’s a small, separate room directly across from the viewing area. The dirt is retrained by a Plexiglas barrier

What does it smell like in there? It smells like the earth.

Some Statistical Background:

The New York Earth Room (1977) is the third Earth Room sculpture executed by the artist Walter De Maria (1935 – 2013), the first being in Munich, Germany in 1968. The second was installed at the Hessisches Landesmuseum in Darmstadt, Germany in 1974. The first two works no longer exist.

How Much Dirt Is in This Room:

250 cubic yards of earth (197 cubic meters)
3,600 square feet of floor space (335 square meters)
22 inch depth of material (56 centimeters)
Total weight of sculpture: 280,000 lbs. (127,300 kilos)

Brian was very enthusiastic about answering all of my questions and he explained that the space was formerly a commercial gallery, where the Earth Room was created as a regular exhibit. Somehow, the gallery owner decided to donate the loft  to the Dia Art Foundation so that the work could remain on long-term installation (or something like that. I am likely omitting many details). The New York Earth Room has been on long-term view to the public since 1980. This work was commissioned and is maintained by Dia Art Foundation.

The New York Earth Room is a work of art meant to be viewed, not entered. You are asked to not touch the dirt. Photography is not permitted, in accordance with wishes of the Artist.

Another interesting fact: the caretaker, Bill Dilworth, has taken care of the dirt for 28 years. The dirt is watered on a regular basis, and churned, so that the soil looks fresh.

You may not think that many people want to visit an apartment filled with dirt, but you would be incorrect. Brian told me that I was the 100th person to visit on that day, and most days there many more visitors.  I am not fronting when I suggest that being in the Earth Room may inspire you to engage in deep contemplation of the meaning of life and the existence of all things. I am now in love this exhibit and can’t wait to visit again many times. Earth Room!

The New York Earth Room is Located at 141 Wooster Street (Between Prince and Houston), 2nd Floor, SoHo, New York City. Hours are Wednesday – Sunday, 12–6 PM (closed from 3–3:30 PM). The New York Earth Room closes for the summer on Sunday, June 17th, 2018. It will reopen on Wednesday, September 12th, 2018. The installation is also closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Admission is Free.

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Happy New Year 2018 From NYC!

New Years Eve Tile
Photos By Gail

Ceramic sculptor Toby Buonagurio, the studio coordinator and sculpture director of Stony Brook’s Department of Art, is known for her colorful ceramic sculptures and innovative designs. The New York New Year’s Eve tile above is part of  Times Square Times: 35 Times,  a permanent public artwork commissioned from Buonagurio by the MTA Arts for Transit. It is permanently installed in illuminated presentation windows embedded in the shiny new glass block station walls throughout the Times Square – 42nd Street Subway Station in the heart of New York City. The artworks are owned by the MTA New York City Transit.

Times Square Times: 35 Times is comprised of 35 unique, one of a kind sculptural ceramic reliefs created by the artist over five years. The work may be viewed in the Times Square – 42nd Street Subway Station along the 7th Avenue Passage, the 41st Street Corridor, the Broadway Mezzanine and the Subway Entrance at 42nd Street. The station is open to the public twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Times Square Times: 35 Times is routinely viewed by more than half a million subway riders daily.

Buonagurio’s project was conceived around three characteristic, conceptual themes emblematic of the energetic vibrancy of Times Square: Performing Arts, Fashion and Street Life – the people, the places, the things – readily recognizable to the average, everyday visitor, not matter where they are from.

Happy New Year, Everyone! Let’s Make 2018 the Best Year Ever!

New Years Eve Tile Installation Viiew
Installation Detail

Larry Bell’s Pacific Red II at the Whitney Museum

Pacific Red II

Larry Bell has exploited the transparency and reflectivity of glass to great effect since the beginning of his career, when he inserted a square piece of glass into a painting and titled it Ghost Box (1962).  Pacific Red II (2017)

Pacific Red II

Pacific Red II

Over the years, Bell has developed coating and laminating techniques in order to tint his sculptures or imbue them with metallic or smoky finishes.

Pacific Red II

Pacific Red II

Here on the Whitney Museum 5th floor outdoor terrace, Bell has installed Pacific Red II (2017), a work consisting of six laminated glass cubes, each measuring six-by-eight feet, and enclosing another six-by-four foot glass box.

Pacific Red II

Pacific Red II

The multiple surface interplay and respond to their urban surroundings, when glass towers abound.

Pacific Red II

Pacific Red II

Read more about the painstakingly brutal installation process of Pacific Red II, and see a video, at This Link.

Pacific Red II

95 Horatio Street By Do Ho Suh

95 Horatio Street Full Street
All Photos By Gail

If you stroll all the way to south end of the High Line to where the park terminates at Gansevoort Street in the meatpacking district, you may look across and consider that someone has blasted a passageway right through the building. But, that is an illusion.

95 Horatio Street

A new site-specific work by Korean artist Do Ho Suh (b. 1962) visually reconnects the building facade of 95 Horatio Street with the elevated railway that once occupied the neighborhood. Although today the High Line ends at Gansevoort Street, here Suh imagines what the vista might have looked like in the days when train tracks continued to run through buildings down into SoHo. 95 Horatio Street previously housed the Manhattan Refrigerator Company, which had a private siding for the railway, allowing direct access to St. John’s Terminal further downtown.

95 Horatio Street Close Up

The digitally rendered image, titled 95 Horatio Street, was just unveiled on June 26th, 2017, on the southwest corner of Gansevoort and Washington Streets. Suh is interested in the emotional and psychological significance of architectural space: its relation to personal memory and the collapse of time are themes he explores across media. His fabric recreations of former homes, meticulous rubbings of the interior of his New York apartment, and drawings of mobile and anthropomorphic architectural structures are evocative meditations on the definition of home, and how this definition is affected by displacement and context.

95 Horatio Street Detail

95 Horatio Street is the sixth work to be presented in this series of public art installations, organized by the Whitney Museum in partnership with TF Cornerstone and High Line Art.  This installation is organized by curatorial assistant Christie Mitchell.

Do Ho Suh: 95 Horatio Street will be on Exhibit For An As-Yet-Undetermined Period  of Time.

95 Horatio Street Perspective

Anish Kapoor’s Decension in Brooklyn Bridge Park

Whirlpool Detail
All Photos By Gail

Brooklyn Bridge Park is fun place to hang out on a sunny weekend day. Into early September, there’s another reason to make a destination of this small oasis that rests in the shadow on one of the city’s major landmarks: that being Anish Kapoor’s Descension whirlpool installation!

Decension Signage and Entrance

For more than 35 years, Anish Kapoor — an Indian artist who now lives in London — has been among the most creative artists of his generation. He has created compelling and poetic bodies of work using a range of materials that include raw pigment, stone, stainless steel, synthetic polymer, resin, and wax. He also has a longstanding interest in the sculptural potential of water.

Descension From a Distance

Descension Approach

Descension

Descension With Bridge

Decension, presented for the first time in the United States, represents a breakthrough with this inherently challenging, slippery substance. I visited the site on the (unfortunately overcast) Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, where I took a short video as I became hypnotized by the deep whooshing sound of the endless swirling water. Enjoy!


Like all of Kapoor’s works, Decension is the result of intensive research into material and process, exploring the potential of water to behave in surprising ways. The continuous swirling motion of this 26-foot-diameter liquid mass converges in a central vortex, as if rushing water is being sucked into the earth’s depths. We thus experience Kapoor’s abstract form on multiple levels. Its powerful physicality has a visceral and mesmerizing impact. Yet Descension also stimulates the imagination and suggests a social, cultural and even mythic dimension.

Decension

Descension is on view at Pier 1’s Bridge View Lawn until September 10th, 2017. Viewing times are 9:00 am-9:00 pm daily except during inclement weather.

Descension Close Up

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Untitled (Water) at the Brooklyn Museum

Water
All Photos By Gail

Felix Gonzales-Torres (1957 – 1996) ever-generous artworks invite viewers to participate in them — by eating candy from a gleaming pile of sweets making up one of his works, for example, or removing a poster from an endlessly replaceable stack of paper. Yet despite their decisive ephemerality, these works are imbued with both personal and political undertones. While invoking the allegedly content-free vocabulary of minimalism, Gonzalez-Torres nonetheless subtly hints at possible meanings through parenthetical subtitles he assigned to each untitled work.

Water

The luminous, blue-beaded curtain Untitled (Water) evokes images of an aquatic landscape but also dreams of travel and escape. The strings of faceted, blue plastic beads have as their source the humble curtains often found in bodegas, but when stretched across the expanse of the entranceway, the shimmering strands resemble a waterfall. Installed in the lobby of the Brooklyn Museum, Untitled (Water), 1995, serves as a threshold, a place of passage, marking off the activity of the street from the theater of the exhibition.

Water Detail
Water, Detail

Water

Beauties Sculpture Installation By John Monti in The Grace Building Lobby

Sculptures By John Monti
All Photos By Gail

I love a happy accident, which is what I have to call my discovery of this fun new exhibit by artist John Monti, which I spotted in the 42nd Street Lobby of The Grace Building as I walked past on the way to the F Train.

Sculptures By John Monti

Sculptures By John Monti Signage

The installation, which is made up of seven amorphous-shaped bright Red and Lime Green sculptures,  is called Beauties and it actually opens with a reception on Thursday, September 15th from 6 – 8 PM, which means there will probably be free wine!

Sculptures By John Monti

Sculptures By John Monti

Red Surface

Up close, you can see that the sculptures’ surfaces are covered with fine, sparkly glitter!

Green Surface

Sculptures By John Monti

I enjoyed looking at them.

Sculptures By John Monti

I know that if Geoffrey sees this photo he will say that they look like Sex Toys. Because they do.

Beauties will be on Exhibit through November 11th, 2016, at The Grace Building Lobby, Located at 1114 Avenue of the Americas (AKA Sixth Avenue), But the Main Entrance is on 42nd Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, just across the street from Bryant Park and New York Public Library. This exhibit is sponsored by Arts Brookfield.