Friday, April 27, 2007

In all the steel there was nature...

And in the nature there was steel?

A workmate of mine asked yesterday if I had seen the Roxy Paine trees in "shake shack park" (Madison Square Park) yesterday - I did remember that I had seen a report on the installation of his boulders, but had forgotten about the trees.

I stopped by yesterday on my way up to Hangawi -

As I came upon the park I could begin to glimpse the sinuous branches of stainless steel - visible in amongst the still bare branches of the towering trees in the park. The juxtaposition of the buildings, real trees and stainless steel branches was a stunning and sexy interplay of line and light. I am anxious to return to see the trees in different light and even at night. The best sculpture is the centerpiece of two wind blown trees leaning into each other - their sleek branches intertwining with one another.

The two other pieces - one a large stainless steel boulder and the other a more chunky tree sited in a dirt area of the park are less successful. I think this is a result of the pieces being less graceful. The centerpiece is a composition of movement and agility - which makes sense among the varied lines of the natural trees - and it is surprising given the sleek metal of which they are made.

Roxy has always fascinated me with his use of technology and high-tech materials to recreate and examine nature and natural processes. It strikes me as an interesting experiment in man's desire to control everything around him. I have a friend who has examined the role of artworks like Roxy's in contemporary society, I will have to get some commentary from her on this work.

The exhibition opens officially on May 15, but it is all up now, so you could catch the trees and the Bill Fontana sound piece at the same time (Fontana's piece is up until May 1).

Many thanks to Madison Square Park and the NYC Parks Dept for bringing this fantastic work to Shake Shack Park!

Monday, April 23, 2007

You are cordially invited...

My hope at the beginning of the HighWaterLine project was to take you, my blog reader friends, along for the ride (at least partially). It has turned out that a lot of the work is about emailing, meetings and writing and re-writing proposals and promotions. It turns out that all that stuff isn't so interesting to blog about.

One thing I would like to do though, is to offer the knowledge that I have gained to others out there interested in doing public art projects. Here's where you come in...

First, if you have questions about the process, post away. I am happy to answer any questions people might have about the process - grantwriting, fiscal sponsorship, grant reporting, networking, working with partners, working with city agencies, community boards, fabrication, public outreach, press and marketing, etc. I will provide in-depth answers in whatever you are interested in learning more about.

Second, if you are interested in the process and want to witness some *live action* I have a LOT of community board meetings coming up, let me know if you are interested in learning more about the process, you can join me at one of the meetings. Just go to the site and contact me.

Finally, if you really really want to get out there and see what it is all about, volunteer! I am looking for artists and environmentally minded folks to walk the line with me. There are a couple of ways to help, so go check out the timeline, and then contact me to let me know when you would like to help out!

(Top image - the glamour of making public art...)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Finding local sources

Since g-pup and I went on the low carbon diet it has been a lot of work finding foodstuff and recipes to support all the winter veg. So, in light of that, I have put together a bulletin board for people to share information on local resources. Check it out here: and participate! Let me know if you have ideas for other topic areas.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sea of People

It's this weekend folks! This Saturday join in on the action right here in NYC. As part of Step It Up, a worldwide call to cut carbon emissions by 80%, a group of good people have organized Sea of People. We will meet in Battery Park for a rally at noon and then walk along two lines on the east and west sides of Manhattan that mark the 10-foot above sea level line.

Check out the promo video here:

See you there?

Monday, April 02, 2007

the more you know the less you know

I am starting to feel a little like Neo when he took the pill. Now that I know all that I know it is really hard to look the other way or to forget it all. This applies to both the environmental issues that I am dealing with as well as the process of producing public art. (Is that allegory a little dated?)

I have been well pleased with the general reception regarding High Water Line within the ranks of the community boards and the city agencies with whom I have met. Today I met with the Brooklyn DoT commissioner. He was entirely open to providing the necessary support that I was seeking - mainly an okay from him regarding chalk marking on the street (since there is a city ordinance regarding it - but that speaks specifically to defacement). It is funny though the things one doesn't think about that the people closer to it do. He brought up the fact that since the line is blue, it would make people think we are doing construction on the street and they might call 311, so I should let them know about the project. Also about writing the url in the line - that may be considered advertisement (which AAA will be pleased to know is treated the same as grafitti), and therefore could be the problematic part of the project. So I am happy to work with them to figure out the best way to represent the project...

I have lots of interesting meetings coming up this week, including another meeting with my designers, a meeting with the NYC Parks department - I am excited about that one - and finally rounding the week out with a meeting with a curator at Dumbo Arts Center to talk about coinciding the project with their Arts Under the Bridge Festival. It could be a wonderfully defining week!

There's been a lot of buzz about the Step It Up projects, including the Sea of People project. Make sure you take the time to dress in blue and come walk the line - it will be a great event (I helped them map the line!) Totally a great group of people, and the big rallies are just as important as my one-on-one conversations.