Artful Green Dot

The Aura of 2012+

Posted in Exhibits by Audrey Tran on October 15, 2009

Despite the cold rain two weekends ago, I managed to get to the opening of this new show in Chelsea.  The Drop Gallery is currently showing works from about thirty international artists who have been asked to explore urban environments.

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Some artists approached the subject by documenting peculiar intimacies of urban life (one multi-part sound piece exposes different noises found around famous NYC sites) Others such as Adrian Kondratowicz and Saya Woolfalk created art pieces that draw attention to our already existing world.  On a quick Tweet, I noted that Kondratowicz’s hot pink and black spotted trash bags make garbage look like a party. His installation looked more like life-sized plastic bags for party favors rather than containers of garbage.  Likewise, Woolfalk installed a video of No Place among one of her sculptures created from recycled materials–imagine glue bottles, milk jugs, and soup cans now paper mached and regally covered in gold paint. In No Place, bits of our world seem to emerge subtly, but are always present.

Of the many ways the 2012+ artists handled the subject, I was drawn most to the works that revolved around collaboration–either among the viewers present, or from pre-arranged participants. For example, Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree invites passersby to scribble a wish on note tags, which can then be tied to a potted tree resting in the gallery. Since I caught the show during the first hour of the opening,  only a few notes had been tagged to the tree, but I can imagine how filled it must be by now–and this is quite an image. How blithe and spiritual, it seems, to unload wishes upon a tree. Ono has been showing such pieces since the 1990’s and has previously said “All [her] works are a form of wishing.

Although his international collaboration is set for viewing in December, Hiroshi Sunairi’s Tree Project also made a debut at 2012+ with a sampling of the beautiful trees from his NY participants.

Sunairi’s project is an open call to anyone who wishes to participate in “the pleasure of growing plants,” specifically Hibaku plants, which are seeds that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

TONIGHT, The Drop will host a closing party for the show and will feature a variety of professionals speaking on their reflections of the word “environment” using no more than “20 slides for 20 seconds” a piece.

2012+ is on view at the Drop Pop Up Gallery on West 25th Street (between 10th and 11th ave) in Chelsea.  See it before October 17th!

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A Museum Without Walls

Posted in Exhibits by Audrey Tran on March 30, 2009

For over a year, artist Katie Holten has been heading the creation of a museum free of drywall, floors, and ceilings.

Her collaborative 4.5  mile public art piece will take place this summer  along the Grand Concourse in honor of the street’s centennial anniversary .

Holten’s Tree Museum will include environmentally conscious art and writing created by New York artists, writers, and activists (E.J. McAdams, who I interviewed in January, will also be apart of the exhibit). Students from P.S. 386, Dreamyard Preparatory, and the Bronx Writing Academy will also create work for this project.

Works will be housed in sidewalk display cases along the entire stretch of the Grand Concourse, while visitors may access audio tours through their cell phones.

Holten came up with the collaborative project after spending hours on the Concourse and observing its natural environment.  The purpose of the Museum is to  direct viewers to the ecosystem of the street.

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While the media typically gives us a negative portrayal of the Bronx, the Tree Museum will help counter that impression.

The museum, which is set to keep “the same visiting hours as trees,” will open on June 21st and goes till October 11th.

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