Inside the ”Winter Garden” aka main lobby of the Comcast Center. Two show-stopping public art installations.
The Comcast Experience, a 25.4ft tall, 83.3 feet, 2,000sf high-definition LED screen with incredibly clear, almost 3-D moving images, ranging from the clock wheels pictured here, to monumental natural landscapes to Betty Boop dancing.
And the permanent installation ”Humanity in Motion” by Jonathan Borofsky – 12 realistically painted life-size figures of stainless steel, walking on horizontal poles and two figures standing at ground level. Guess which ones?
A transparent sculpture by Tom Fruin made from roughly one thousand scraps of plexiglas. It includes such details as interior and exterior access ladders and an operable roof hatch. The locally-sourced plexi came from all over New York City—from the floors of Chinatown sign shops, to the closed DUMBO studio of artist Dennis Oppenheim, to Astoria’s demolition salvage warehouse Build It Green!NYC.
For this work the artist, who was born in Belo Horizonte but lives and works in London, has embroidered words borrowed from the language of protest – take, back, justice, trade, war, corrupt, revolution, system, democracy, over – onto fabric tags similar to those used for clothing labels. Visitors were encouraged to take a tag, either to sew onto their clothes or to pin to the board. In both cases the migrating and accumulating words formed a poetic, global map of resistance.
I pinned ”Public” on top of ”Justice” on the board – my contribution to the resistance.
Simon Starling: At Twilight (After W. B. Yeats’ Noh Reincarnation), is a multimedia project in which the artist explores the influence of Noh on Western Modernism. It was displayed in the Japan Society’s galleries starting with a dimly lit room where a modern interpretation of At the Hawk’s Well, W.B. Yeats’ one-act dance play was showing alongside masks created by Noh Mask maker, Yasuo Miichi. The play was inspired by Yeats’ close collaborator and friend, the poet Ezra Pound who at the time, was translating Japanese Noh plays.
The installation continued in the ”mirror room”, a place Noh performers would traditionally use to change into their characters and, finally, concluded with an exhibit of photographs, prints, masks and other archival material – all related to Mr Starling’s project.
Ito later recalled: At supper, Lady Cunard, a refined, white-haired gentleman and I, all sat at a table together. The old man tried to carry on a conversation with me. However, it was in English, so I didn’t follow very well… I began to get frustrated, and interjected in halting English: ”If you allow me to speak in German I can answer a little more intelligently.” Hearing this, the old man let out a hearty laugh: ”I am an Englishman and can’t speak Japanese. You are Japanese and can’t speak English. If German mediates between us, then by all means let’s speak in German…” The person I had spoken to in German – the language of his enemy – had been the Prime Minister of England.”
Pessimistic, downward facing Eeyore concludes the three-part series about Simon Starling’s project shown at the Japan Society. For more inspirational views connecting the pieces, please click here and here.
Simon Starling: At Twilight
(After W.B. Yeats’ Noh Reincarnation)
A multimedia installation by Simon Starling to mark the centennial of W.B. Yeats’ staging of the Noh-inspired dance play ”At the Hawk’s Well”, in 1916. The project aimed to illustrate the influence of Noh on Western Modernism by pairing newly created masks, costumes and a video (from which the above stills) with Modernist works and archival material connected to Yeats and his circle.
It was on show at the Japan Society until mid January 2017.
*Title from Kino no Tabi – the Beautiful World anime series (2003)
My title, not the artist’s. The artist left it untitled so I thought, what if I call it ”Rain of Light”, isn’t it more fitting? Presumptuous may be, but it was the first thing that came to mind when I saw it illuminating the stairwell, making it an integral part of the museum rather than a solely utilitarian feature. I instantly thanked myself for choosing to take the stairs instead of the lift.
I went in expecting to see an interesting video art installation. I came out a better person, conscious that I have witnessed a brilliant work of art. Julian Rosenfeldt’s Manifesto bridges admirably the boundaries between filmmaking, theatrical artistic expression and technical dexterity. Mounted on 13 screens, positioned all over the monumental Wade Thompson Drill Hall in deceptive randomness, Manifesto brings to life excerpts of over 50 manifestos and statements by artists, filmmakers, choreographers and architects, going back as early as 1913 (Appolinaire’s The Futurist Antitradition) and as recently as 2002 (Jim Jarmusch’s Golden Rules of Filmmaking).
And then, there is Cate Blanchett. In case you still had a doubt about Ms. Blanchett’s brilliance as a performer this is your moment of truth. Passing effortlessly from the role of a homeless man, to a diva choreographer, a TV anchorwoman, a factory worker, a school teacher, a scientist, or my two favourites – a puppeteer and a conservative mother, Ms Blanchett interprets, dramatizes and recites excerpts, merging different manifestos and statements in every story seamlessly, skillfully proving yet again what a powerful performer she really is.
Manifesto is on at the Park Avenue Armory until January 8th, 2017. An unmissable treat, if your way brings you to New York City until then.
Photography is not permitted inside the hall, and rightfully so for once, as camera and cell phone lights would have been all but rude intruders destroying the immersive, audio-visual experience.
As a compensation, cameras are welcome in all the beautifully restored reception rooms on the first floor.