Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Bustling Bamboo Jungle in NYC--!?

Usually, I'm not surprised by what's going on at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. After all, the Met is universally known as a prestigious and comprehensive mega-museum displaying pieces from its vast collections and showcasing tons of eclectic exhibitions that present art from different centuries and various cultures. (For example, the Met is currently exhibiting "Sounding the Pacific: Musical Instruments of Oceania" along with "Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage" and several other wildly diverse shows).

However, it seems the Met is taking its admiration for uniqueness and desire to present art in all its forms to a new level: the roof! New Jersey-bred identical-twin-brothers / artists Doug and Mike Starn have created "Big Bambú: You Can't, You Don't, and You Won't Stop," a complex installation that's part performance, part architecture, and part sculpture.

The installation, which opened yesterday, is actually a work in progress. The public will be able to witness "Big Bambú's" metamorphosis throughout the summer, as rock climbers continually add to the work until it forms a cresting wave covering an area of 100 x 50 feet and soars 50 feet above the Met's roof.

The 48 year-old brothers, who have worked together as artists their entire lives, developed the idea for "Big Bambú" after finishing their project "Sphere of Influence," a 1991 creation that consisted of a rotating globe about 14 feet in diameter made of metal pipe clamps juxtaposed against sheets of transparent photographs. "Big Bambú" is organic, and Doug Starn recently stated that its about, "... all the things in your life, including those that aren't planned."

The artists chose bamboo as their medium because its light, yet incredibly strong (and can withstand all types of weather). The installation is titled after after the brothers' nicknames in high school, Cheech and Chong, whose albums included one called"Big Bambú."

Museum officials are anticipating that some 400,000 people will see "Big Bambú" throughout its duration (it will be dismantled at the end of October). All visitors will be able to stroll the roof's main level. However, the paths above will be limited to guided tours of 10 to 15 people, twice an hour.The project is quite the daring feat - even for the Met. While there have been sculpture exhibitions by artist such as Jeff Koons, Ellsworth Kelly and Roy Lichtenstein on the roof, this is by far the most ambitious roof-top exhibition.

So why did the Met agree to such a thing?

Associate curator of modern and contemporary art at the Met, Anne L. Strauss, answers this question - stating,

"Because the Starns' piece is its own microcosm with all its inherent complexities set against Manhattan with its own complexities, I thought it would be a fascinating dialogue."

Mike Starn discussed the unique project,

"['Big Bambú' resembles] the arteries in your body or in the city subway system... We're also talking about Western civilization, the interconnected dependency we all have on each other but which is changing all the time."

Click here to read the entire NY Times article associated with this post (including more details on the exhibition, how the artists / museum / city collaborated and prepared for the installation, and to view visitor "rules")

Monday, April 12, 2010

April Art Auctions

NYC's art scene is always bustling, and it's often hard to keep up with the massive number of current and upcoming art events going on in the "City that Never Sleeps."

Check out the major art auctions going on throughout the rest of April in NYC:

Sotheby's New York:
  • Photographs - April 13th, 10am and 2pm
  • A Celebration of the English Country House - April 15th, 10am and 2pm
  • Russian Art - April 21st - 22nd
  • 19th Century Furniture, Sculpture, Ceramics, Silver and Works of Art - April 22nd, 10am and 2pm
  • 19th Century European Art - April 23rd
  • Prints - April 29th - 30th

Christie's New York:
  • Three Decades with Irving Penn: Photographs from the Collection of Patricia McCabe - April 14th, 2pm
  • Photographs - April 15th, 10am
  • Selections from the Balo Collection of Photography - April 15th, 10am
  • Photographs Sold to Benefit Friends in Deed - April 15th, 2pm
  • 500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe - April 20th - 21st, 10am and 2pm (both days)
  • Russian Art - April 23rd
  • Prints and Multiples - April 26th - 27th , 10am and 2pm (both days)
Bonhams New York:
  • An Important Private Maritime Collection: Including Maritime Paintings and Shipbuilders' Models - April 14th, 1pm
  • European Paintings - April 21st, 1pm
Doyle New York:
  • DOYLE+DESIGN - April 20th, 10am
  • Books, Photographs and Prints - April 28th, 10am
Phillips de Pury and Company New York:
  • Photographs - April 16th, 10am and 2pm

Swann Auction Galleries:
  • Old Master Through Modern Prints - April 27th, 10:30am and 2:30pm