It’s hotter than balls in New York right now, but it’s cooler by the river, in the evening, if you can fight off the bugs. I’m writing a piece for my dear friend Ali’s fantastic online art review Artvehicle about the current exhibition at Socrates Sculpture Park (which will have a more decorous lede) so this evening I walked down there to take some pictures. I’ve written about Socrates many times before, and it might be my favorite outdoor space in the city. I love the combination of a community-minded space and a genuine curatorial vision; I love being able to visit a farmer’s market in an outdoor gallery, and I love the juxtaposition of picnic space, views of the city, and weird, challenging, quirky, colossal, and silly art.
Here were some of my favorite pieces from the main show, Do It (Outside), conceived and curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, which presents a series of instructions from artists on how to create a piece of art, which cannot be permanent and must be dismantled at the end of the show. It raises all sorts of questions about creation vs. “realization,” and highlights the importance of space, collaboration, serendipity… plus, there’s candy (courtesy of Felix Gonzalez-Torres) and lounge chairs. Continue reading
If you’re in New York, you still have a few days left to visit Signor Columbus at home. It’s a bit of a climb, but worth it for the wallpaper.
The Public Art Fund is behind Tatzu Nishi’s whimsical, perspective-upending “Discovering Columbus,” in which the artist has enclosed the weathered old statue in a reasonably ritzy apartment in the sky. Usually exposed to the weather, the old sea dog, hand on his tiller, is temporarily aloft on his own coffee table, while visitors admire his bookshelves, furniture, and enviable view. You’re not allowed to touch him (or borrow his copy of the Steve Jobs biography) but you can get pretty comfortable, and forget you’re standing on a platform wrapped around a 75ft-high column.
Before long Columbus’s real-estate-obsessed guests settle into the same conversations they adopt in any stranger’s apartment: where did he score that vintage leather chair? What’s his taste in books? Is that wallpaper custom? And most importantly – how much do you think he pays for a place like this?
Go speculate before December 2nd, by reserving your tickets here.
The lives of Chinese artists are marked by remarkable multiplicity and confusion, change and disorder, doubt and destructiveness, a loss of self and the emptiness that follows, hopelessness and its attendant freedom, shamelessness and its accompanying pleasures.
– Ai Weiwei’s Blog
I had the pleasure of seeing the fantastic documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry at the IFC Center this week, and writing a roundup of books on the artist & his work for Biographile, a beautifully curated new site focused on biography and memoir. Before going in I didn’t know much about Ai Weiwei, who strides through this film like some kind of ancient statue come to life, and frankly, I expected it to be a worthy but not especially fun hour and a half. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Here’s the trailer:
an elegant museum for an elegant block
I visited the Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art yesterday, which sits on a quiet and leafy Village block (17th street just off 7th ave), in time to catch the dramatically titled ‘Remember that you will die’ exhibition before it closes next week. The exhibition is on the top floor of the gallery, which I had never visited before, so I climbed through most of the rest of the collection before getting there. The museum is beautiful and feels lavish, although the exhibits are sparely and thoughtfully arranged so that each piece – often in a dramatically spot-lit glass case – has enough space to engross your full attention.