Mariechen Danz (b. 1980, Dublin, Ireland) is a Berlin-based artist who researches representations of the body, investigating the way it has been given meaning in various cultures, epochs, and fields of knowledge. In her installations, performances and music, often in collaboration with other artists and musicians, the human body emerges as a contradictory structure and a scene of conflict — an utterly contaminated zone, both politically and historically.
Torso Section, Detail
For the High Line, Danz presents a new iteration of The Dig of No Body, a sculpture that references anatomical learning models segregated into individual parts, like a life-sized soil sample in movable layers.
Arm Section, Detail
The work evokes our changing relationship to the earth, as well as the popular contemporary name “Anthropocene,” which suggests humans’ creation of a new geological era.
The Dig of No Body is Part of the Group Exhibition Agora, On Display Along The High Line Through March of 2019.
I’m guessing not everybody will notice that the backside of this otherwise ordinary Stop Sign, located at the corner of Gansevoort and Hudson Streets in the Meatpacking District, gives a subtle endorsement of The Green.
I haven’t walked much on the High Line this winter, and I specially try to stay away from it at night, when there could be hidden ice or slippery conditions, or when isolation could make for unsafe circumstances. But this past week I was at an opening on 28th Street and decided on the spur of the moment to just walk the few blocks along the elevated park until I reached 23rd Street and could walk down to a bus. What scary fun it was to come upon this sculpture waiting in the semi-darkness at 24th Street!
This imposing figure is called Sphinx Joachim, and he is creation of artist Marguerite Humeau (b. 1986, France). Humeau is fond of using her artworks to weave factual events into speculative narratives, enabling unknown, invisible, or extinct forms of life to erupt in grandiose splendor. For the High Line, Humeau has proposed a sphinx as a winged lion that protects the site against potential enemies. Equipped with motion detectors, Sphinx Joachim roars as an alarm every time it senses a human presence. Scary, especially in the dark!
Sphinx Joachim is part of the High Line’s Mutations series and will be on display through March, 2018.
Nari Ward (b. 1963, Jamaica) creates sculptural installations from materials he collects in his neighborhoods, ranging from his original hometown in Jamaica, to Harlem, where he has lived since 1983. Ward’s compositions wrestle with memory and belonging, and address topics from justice to health care.
For his High Line commission, the artist reconfigures a childhood memory. Returning to his father’s home in Jamaica after 15 years away, Ward remembers finding an abandoned car in the front yard, [which was] sprouting a lime tree. He reimagines this story for the High Line with Smart Tree; the form of a Smart Car refinished with tire treads, propped up on cinder blocks, and sprouting an apple tree from its roof.
With the car’s cinderblock base representing stasis, and its coating of tire treads suggesting perpetual movement, Smart Tree holds up a mirror to the flux surrounding the High Line itself and reminds viewers of the park’s history as a major transportation artery in Manhattan.
Smart Tree will be on view at the High Line Park Through March of 2017.
Geoffrey and I took a walk on the High Line (aka The Highlands) this past Saturday evening to get from his place on West 30th Street down to the Jonathan LeVine Gallery on West 20th Street. We definitely saw a few signs of Spring. Check it out.
I love the purple tree against the detail of the brick wall.
Barbara Kruger is an American artist who works with pictures and words. Kruger uses the fluency she developed as a graphic designer to inform her work as an artist, insistently addressing the issues of power, property, money, race, and sexuality. Over the past three decades her work has ranged from the photographic merging of image and text, to immersive video installations, to room-wrapping textual exhibitions, to large-scale outdoor displays of words and images. Two of her best-known works – Your body is a battleground and I shop therefore I am – also showcase the feminist overtones of her artworks, and her concentration on women as a lucrative site for advertising and consumerism.
For the High Line, Kruger presents Untitled (Blind Idealism Is…), a new work realized as a hand-painted mural. Continuing her unabashed criticism of culture and power, the mural features the slogan “BLIND IDEALISM IS REACTIONARY SCARY DEADLY,” an adaptation of a quote from Afro-Caribbean philosopher and revolutionary thinker Frantz Fanon, which has appeared in multiple works by the artist. The original statement by Fanon, “Blind idealism is reactionary,” suggests that political and religious convictions stem from the situations from which they grow, not from the inherent nature of individual human beings. According to Kruger, the work reflects “how we are to one another” within “the days and nights that construct us.” These texts, along with Kruger’s own writings, resonate with particular potency in today’s political climate.
Barbara Kruger’s Untitled (Blind Idealism Is…) Will be on View Until March 2017, Adjacent to the High Line at West 22nd Street., in the Chelsea Gallery District.
For The Subway (1950), George Tooker used a claustrophobic, labyrinthine subway station to portray the alienation and the isolation of contemporary urban life. These urban dwellers — all of whom seem to have the same face — seem frozen, trapped by the architecture of the subway station. Tooker rendered this distinctly modern subject in egg tempera, a medium associated almost exclusively with the Renaissance. The technique creates a smooth, matte surface and is ideal for making sharp, clear lines, which together lend the anxious scene an eerie placidity. The artist said that he attempted to paint reality in a way that would impress it “on the mind so hard that it returns as a dream.” I love this painting.
Photographed in the Whitney Museum of American Art, now in its new home at 99 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY 10014, in the Meatpacking District, adjacent to the Highline.