Saturday, October 26, 2013

Who Knew All This Was in Queens?

Socrates Sculpture Park is a few blocks from the Noguchi Museum in Queens, and a fun counterpoint to the Museum's quiet meditative ambiance.  The day we were there the park was crowded with neighborhood kids in costumes for a halloween event.  Dogs were in costumes too, and a farmer's market was happening on top of it all. It was a neighborhood happening. The exhibit was EAF 13:  Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition.

The work above is by Thordis Adalsteinsdottir, and is called Bear Eats Man.

The giant blue thing is made of plastic bags that moved gently like leaves very beautifully in any breeze.

I wondered if the chandelier in this open tree house was lit up at night.  I hope so. There were many more works.  Those were my favorites.

Their Mission Statement:

"Socrates Sculpture Park is the only site in the New York Metropolitan area specifically dedicated to providing artists with opportunities to create and exhibit large-scale sculpture and multi-media installations in a unique outdoor environment that encourages strong interaction between artists, artworks and the public.

The park's existence is based on the belief that reclamation, revitalization and creative expression are essential to the survival, humanity and improvement of our urban environment. Socrates Sculpture Park was an abandoned riverside landfill and illegal dumpsite until 1986 when a coalition of artists 
and community
members, under the leadership of artist Mark di Suvero, transformed it into an open studio and 
exhibition space for artists and a neighborhood park for local residents.

Today it is an internationally renowned outdoor museum and artist residency program that also serves as a vital New York City park offering a wide variety of free public services."

Ahhhh, New York.  A delicious bite of the Big Apple!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Master Sculptor Carves Up Books

Seeing art in person is always better than seeing it online.  Hearing Brian Dettmer speak about his work at this evening's opening was still more wonderful. 

An amazing sculptor who uses books as his material, he carves, cuts, and sands.  And in the detail of the piece seen above he also burned.  You couldn't really see how much of the unreadable text showed through the burn marks until you got close up. It is called "Emergency Exit" and is made up of 84 romance paperbacks in the shape of a door - a portal into a fictional world.

The show is called Elemental and will be at Haverford College's Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery until December 15th. image on the notice above is a detail of the over-life size tower made from Encyclopedia Britannicas seen below:

He says he works 40 - 60 hours a week in the studio. His work is so meticulous - I can totally imagine it.  Once he starts burrowing into the book he doesn't know what text or images he will find, and enjoys the random surprises.

As a Philadelphia Dumpster Diver, it gave me great pleasure to hear him say that as a kid he lived across the street from a school that would discard piles of books into a dumpster.  He and his brother would salvage them, not always to read them, but because he knew they held some value.  "I probably made my first altered book in the third grade."  And the rest is history....

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pilgrimage to Isamu Noguchi's Museum

As soon as one enters the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, you are enfolded into a unique environment that is indoor-outdoor, a building/garden/landscape totality.  "My view is that sculpture is the art which can only be appreciated in the raw, relative to man's motion, to time's passage, and to its constantly changing situation.  The photographs in this catalogue make reference to sculptures which may be experienced only by visiting the museum," says Noguchi in his book.  He created the museum from a triangular factory building in Queens, New York, making it into an environment where the iconic magical quality of his work is experienced in the moment.  It is not a conventional museum. It is a meditation.

Looking through the glass doors of the lobby into the galleries:

 The garden is a presence from inside many of the rooms: 

The sculptures remain where Noguchi, who died in 1988, placed them.  Their placement seems integral to the ceiling beams, angles of lighting from windows, shadows, and each other.

The concrete floors and white brick walls are a perfect setting, forming a natural habitat for nature's materials.  The marks of the chisel in some pieces are palpable and immediate.  He says "No erasing or reproduction is possible, at least not in the way I now work, leaving nature's mark.  It is unique and final."

There were many works in wood, metal, clay, and  brush painting as well.

Noguchi was also involved with stage sets for Martha Graham and furniture design, especially lighting. He refused to be categorized.  The son of a Japanese poet and an Irish American writer and editor, he lived in Japan, the United States, and Europe, and traveled throughout Asia.  After Pearl Harbor he formed Nisei Writers and Artists for Democracy.  

It was an unforgettable pilgrimage, to be savored for a long time...

Movies, TV, and videogames, Oh My!

Where else but the Museum of the Moving Image could I see "Reconstruction of Animatronic Yoda Puppet, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)!

Or the Prosthetic Legs for Beth Macintyre from Black Swan (2010):

The Museum is located in the Astoria section of Queens, New York City, an area that used to be a center for film-making in pre-Hollywood days.  The building next door still produces tv shows like Sesame Street and Nurse Jackie.  It is the only museum of its kind in the country that documents every aspect of the history of moving images.

Magic Lanterns, from 1870 - 1900:

Antique cameras:

Early days of lighting:

This one is from 1937 with its rolling dolly:

The sound system:

KEM 35mm/16mm Six-plate Flatbed Editing Console, Model RS-6, c. 1975.  Now my grandson can do it in iPhoto.. 

Projector c. 1905:

Seeing equipment that is so primitive by today's standards gave me a deeper appreciation of some the old classic movies I love.   Such beautiful films made with such difficulty!

And then radio was supplanted by television:

Video games are moving images too:

And infinite fun for fans:


And then there were the parts of the Museum we didn't have time to see.  Easily a wonderful day's visit!

I went on the Queens artcrawl because I wanted to see the Noguchi Museum.  I had never heard of The Museum of the Moving Image.  I'm so glad it was part of the day!  I'm a fan.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Artcrawl Bonanza

It didn't occur to me that I might get a sense of the Astoria, Queens neighborhood on our art crawl today.  We got to the Museum of the Moving Image half an hour before it opened. After two and a half hours on the chartered bus it felt good to stroll.  I had dropped into a unique world.  I love having a camera always with me in my phone!




I had never seen the Statue of Liberty from this angle before, off in the distance as if floating on top of the buildings.

Through the bus window:

Later, I'll post my pictures from the Museum of the Moving Image,, The Noguchi Museum,, and Socrates Sculpture Park,  It's been a long day.  I need to sleep.