Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Art Brut on Hudson

Up along the Hudson River Greenway, somewhere around Harlem, if you're going on foot or by bicycle and you're paying attention, you'll find some odd pieces of art.

Gathered from the detritus that washes up from the Hudson, they don't seem to be commissioned and have no sense of permanence.

They're built from driftwood, sticks, chunks of rope and floating bits, Styrofoam and lengths of corrugated tubing.

I wonder who made them and why. I wonder how long they'll last before they're washed and blown away, and if their creator will make something new in their place once they're gone.

A man named Tom Loback used to make them. He said there were other artists, too. From the Times:

"Mr. Loback said he does not have his open-air gallery to himself, noting that there are other artists who make something out of logs and tree branches gathered along the riverbank. He calls them El Ropo and Doodad because one’s signature element is rope binding the wood together, and the other’s distinctive touch is some little plastic object atop the sculpture. Mr. Loback said he does not know who El Ropo and Doodad are, though he suspects he has met them along the riverbank."

Here's Tom's work on video.


Robinson McClellan said...

I think those sculptures have been put up there periodically for at least 10 years or more. No idea if it's the same person always.

Jeremiah Moss said...

10 years! That officially makes it a compelling urban mystery.

Briar said...

Tom Loback used to make sculptures like these along the river, but I believe he passed away in the last year or so. Here is a Times piece awhile back about him:

Jeremiah Moss said...

Thanks Briar, that's great. I'll add the info to the post.

Jonah Falcon said...

Ephemeral art.