Thursday, October 1, 2009

(textiles) & art: Spencer Finch / High Line

Today I'm not showing textiles; instead I have some public art to share.

(Although, this particular piece does remind me a lot of quilts. So maybe I should say this is art plus suggestion of textiles...)

The High Line, in New York City, used to be an elevated train line, which has now been turned into a park/public space. Since it runs through "one of the world's greatest arts districts", some of the first supporters of the High Line project were artists and galleries. Now the High Line Art Program is supporting the arts as well.

The inaugural piece, The River That Flows Both Ways, is an amazing work by Spencer Finch, which I discovered on  Joanie San Chirico's blog.

 image credit: The High Line

According to the High Line's site, "The inaugural artwork on the High Line, by artist Spencer Finch, is The River That Flows Both Ways. Its title comes from the original Native American word for the Hudson River, Muhheakantuck. This work is located on the High Line in the semi-enclosed former loading dock between 15th and 16th Streets, where the High Line passes through the Chelsea Market building. Finch transforms the site's existing casement windows with 700 individually crafted panes of glass representing the water conditions on the Hudson River over a single day. To create the project, Finch photographed the Hudson River 700 times from the deck of a boat and then carefully matched each unique image to a pane of glass."

image credit: Joanie San Chirico

I'm struck by this for several reasons. First is the obsessiveness of it, the idea of taking 700 photographs of the river over a period of 700 minutes to capture all the different colors of light. And connected with that is the accumulation of that information. You can look at the river all day, or even paint a picture, and wind up with something flat. But 700 could make a pretty nice stack out of that...Then my brain starts running full speed thinking about how that information could be organized, but I digress. Obviously, this piece has really sparked some thought in me, and I've only seen a few pictures of it on the internet. I must see it in person next time I head back east.

image credit: art in america

I love this too because of the way it shows me something new, and something that I wouldn't have seen if I'd looked by myself. Not only that, but this piece seems very accessible and relate-able. I can get something out of this piece, and at the same time, someone who has a completely different background can relate to this piece. While different people will walk away with different ideas from the same thing, the important thing is that the relationship was formed in the first place.

Find out more about Spencer Finch on his website. Really, you should take a look. This guy does some seriously amazing work.

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