5.05.2013

CROCHETED COLOR IN MADISON SQUARE PARK



The piece is kind of funny, once you get over feeling startled at such an intrusion on the plantings of Madison Square Park. There are times when I wonder why a garden can't simply be...just a garden.


The answer, I suppose, is when an artist has an exuberant joke to tell. Orly Genger and a few assistants spent two years crocheting fisherman's rope--after they had picked out bits of lobster shell and fish bones, then cleaned and painted 1.4 million feet of the stuff. Most of it, of course, comes from Maine.


Genger laid the rope down, piling some of the "scarves"on top of one another so the undulations would mound up high, letting some of the ends die into the grass.


Rather than the heavy rusted steel of powerful Serra sculptures, which these forms resemble--as if some primal Serra ancestor, a giantess, had spent the winter on earth, manically working her crochet hook. Electric blues and reds and yellows (not yet installed when I wandered into this...situation) snake through the park. Springtime foliage was given a vivid backdrop.


Already the smart squirrels had figured out the on-ramp potential, fast-tracking to their nests up in the trees. I'm hoping the clever sparrows spot the nesting possibilities inside the coils. And perhaps the piece will do what art does so well: make us see something we hadn't noticed, make us slow down and actually feel the presence of the color blue, make us wonder what is art, anyway?

4 comments:

William said...

I don't know about this one, Dominique, especially when applied to the question "what is art, anyway?".

I'm all for 'Public Art' (like the Park Avenue Mall exhibits or a piece here and there in parks), but I have an issue with it when it takes over an entire park like this does and the way Christo's Gates did Central Park several years back. Christo's Gates were fully up for only a couple of weeks, but with the set up and removal it totally messed up the park for a couple of months.

Isn't a beautiful park just allowed to be a beautiful park without highly invasive "art" installations, art enough?

dominique said...

Exactly what I'm wondering, William. This one does take over; you can't see any part of the park without seeing it. Is it too big for this space? Too overwhelming? Would it have been better in a concrete park--a plaza or one of those endless stretches of cement skirted by buildings? Does it bear any relation to the place in which it is sited, other than to wrap around trees? That said, when I look at the pieces as hedges...my perception changes. I did have the strange feeling of encountering an obstacle, when I first stumbled upon this piece. An obstacle to my enjoyment, to refreshment, from the things growing in the park, what we call nature, bits of nature I suppose. So wrapping my mind around the "obstacle" has been an interesting exercise all on its own!

William said...

Dominique,

Your questions may have been meant rhetorically, but I'll answer them anyway.

Is it too big for this space?: YES

Too overwhelming? YES (Just look at those poor tulip trees trying to compete for attention)

Would it have been better in a concrete park--a plaza or one of those endless stretches of cement (you mean to use 'concrete' again here, btw) skirted by buildings? YES, MUCH BETTER

Does it bear any relation to the place in which it is sited, other than to wrap around trees? NO (Frank Lloyd Wright is rolling in his grave - and no Guggenheim retort here, it's too obvious - I'm talking about the bulk of his work and his career philosophy - not the building he did in the city he hated at the end of his career and these rope things are no Guggenheim).


And yes these are obstacles to enjoyment and refreshment! Looking at these things almost made me not enjoy my Shake Shack burger! I said almost.

Jessie said...

I love it! I love the juxtaposition with nature. I love the color. I love the undulation and curves. It is distinctly urban. I don't live in the city so to me this represents the surprising and unexpected that I love when I visit. And of course, as an avid knitter, I relate.