Monday, 28 November 2011

New York, I miss you.... (Part 1)

View from the Empire State

So as mentioned way, way back Jake and I were lucky enough to go to New York for a study trip that lasted around 19 days. The city is simply stunning and I feel like we definitely left far too soon. Because it was majority an Art's trip we spent ALOT of time visiting museums and artist's, amongst the list of many that we visited I think that the art museums that had the biggest impact on me were, PS1, The Met and The Guggenheim. 

If you haven’t heard of PS1 it's part of MoMA, which we also visited however I found the work at PS1 much more interesting as the artist's are less well known than those at MoMA. Also the work I found was generally more interesting. This is not to say that I dislike MoMA because they had some very good futurist pieces there. However that's beside the point. At PS1 the work is very diverse, socially challenging and epic. Diverse obviously as there were many different medium's and style's used, socially challenging as one artist's work who I will go on to talk about confronted the viewer with explicit sexual references and talked about male dominance. And epic, now don't take that as how the word is usually used i.e.: "last night was epic!" but actually so astounding as the work took over your senses and surrounded you, transporting you to somewhere else, this refers to an installation piece.

Socially challenging: Clifford Owens

Clifford Owens spent his summer at PS1 working with video, photography and lives performance. When we got to PS1 his live performance pieces has stopped as it was November but they had video's of his performance's playing. In his work he played a lot with our idea's surrounding sex in one prominent piece I remember him using his hand's on vegetables, especially a halved artichoke as if it was a girl's clitoris as well as using a egg plant as a ghetto flesh light. Another one of his performance pieces that sticks out to me was one where he had a room lined with people and would slowly chose a person (male or female) and then go up to them and decide to kiss them or not. The experience of being in that room must have been bizarre the awkwardness of being both chosen and not would have been crazy. 

I've heard that sometimes art can be so beautiful you cry, and until this trip I had no idea what it really meant, I mean who cry's for beauty? This trip took me to two pieces where I found exactly how true this statement can be. Ok I didn’t actually cry but I definitely got teary. One of these mentioned pieces is by Janet Cardiff and her sound installation 'Forty Part Montet'. The installation is in a huge, more hall, than room space in PS1 and features a huge circle of free standing speaker's all facing in, two benches sit in the middle and you can chose to sit on these to listen to what can only be described as epic. The sound that emits is 40 human voices all singing in close harmony, the piece is "Spem in Alium" a Latin Renaissance motet composed by Thomas Tallis. Composed in 1573 it was to be sung by 40 people split into five groups of eight arranged into a horseshoe across the floor and balconies in a cathedral so that the music bounced off the walls and windows, undulating around the worshipper's below. It has been thought to have been written for Queen Elizabeth's birthday and WOW it would have been the most amazing birthday present ever. Jake and I were very lucky arriving at PS1 on a very empty day and had the whole hall to ourselves when we got this piece we just sat in the middle, shut our eyes and let the music wash over us. It was the most amazing sound, it reaches every part of you and I felt like I was up in the clouds, angel's and all the experience is un-writeable you really have to experience it yourself. 

And now I've got a load of washing and cleaning to finish grrrrr! So wait for Part 2, perhaps tomorrow.

Lot's of Love
                    Audrey Megan

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