Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Subversive High Line Art?

On a recent trip to the High Line, I took some photos of the empty lot that was supposed to be another Whitney Museum. Someone had stuck rooty-tooty vinyl all over the fence, atop the maintenance trailers, and slapped across the parking lot's asphalt. I figured this was a way to "pretty up" the gutted lot in the meantime.

In this week's New Yorker, Andrea K. Scott answers the question: What is this all about?

In her Talk of the Town column she writes that the Whitney "museum commissioned a temporary site-specific installation by the duo Guyton\Walker, which will be on view until June 23rd."

As the artists were sticking their vinyl onto the lot, their curator from the Whitney "made an emergency run to Jeffrey, the department store on Fourteenth Street, to stock up on sunscreen," and he said of the artwork, "This is pretty subversive!"

Here's more hilarious excerpt:

Guyton looked at the giant orange slice... "we just started putting food on the scanner.” (The images on the fence all started as scans.) Walker said, “We were talking about testing the limits of the scanner. So putting lime slices, which are almost liquid, on it seemed sort of perverse.” Guyton added, “Plus, the history of the neighborhood is pretty fruity.”

The green stripe properly in place, Rothkopf, Guyton, and Walker retired to Trailer 3 for a lunch of takeout Thai and chocolate-covered espresso beans...

After lunch, the men made their way up the steps to the High Line, to inspect their work. From that vantage point, the wind holes cut into the vinyl to prevent it from billowing looked like cartoon bullet holes. Nearby, a visitor from St. Louis was studying the installation. He said, “It kind of piques the curiosity. It might be an ad campaign, but I bet it’s art.”

end of excerpt

So: Is it Art or Advertising?

When publicly displayed vinyl fruit slices, commissioned by the Whitney Museum, are called "perverse" and "subversive," we're living in some alternate universe where words don't mean what they're meant to mean.


BrooksNYC said...

Andrea Scott's serenely damning New Yorker piece was scary, wasn't it?

"...we're living in some alternate universe where words don't mean what they're meant to mean."

Boy, doncha know.

B. said...

I think the last remnant of my brain just died. Oh no.

Post should come with warning: 'quotes in this post could prove lethal to braincells'.

Oh no.

Jeremiah Moss said...

"serenely damning" is right. i love that light touch, letting the subjects skewer themselves.

Goggla said...

Too bad REVS didn't get there first.

JackS said...
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