Introducing The New High Line Art Show, Panorama
The High Line's open air exhibitions are always among my favorites of the temporary public art installations that go up every spring all over the city, in Madison Square Park, City Hall Park, Central Park, and Brooklyn Bridge Park, among many other locations. It's not that the actual, specific pieces of art in these High Line shows are necessarily better than elsewhere (Mad Sq Arts usually wins that title… stay tuned for a look at their newest, and most controversial, installation yet), it's more about the way the contributors and curators use the space, the now mile-and-a-half long park that's become one of the most popular in New York City. The latest exhibition, Panorama which officially opened this weekend, follows the tradition of individual works integrating in fun and interesting ways with their setting, as well as creating a kind of treasure hunt "discovery moment" as you come across each piece while walking up or down the still-lovely park. Here's a sneak peek at the show…
Welcome Panorama To The High Line Promenade
Panorama features new work from eleven international artists, all of whom were commissioned for the exhibition to create work that "explore[s] the act of seeing and understanding the spectacle of nature." This launching point is obviously perfect for the High Line, designed as is upon an old elevated railway that cuts right through far west Chelsea, the whole concept of which was to re-imagine how nature can fit in–and, as is the case here, utterly transform–even the most urban of settings. Anyway, not all of the pieces in Panorama were installed when I went last week, but my favorites will likely remain Damian Ortega's clever Physical Graffiti sculptures, which use iron tags and throw-ups (those balloon letters graffiti writers use for large "pieces"), allowing the natural background to be the fill-in. The sculpture in the photo at top explains it visually better than I can do down here, but suffice it say that most everyone who saw Ortega's work while I was standing there stopped and chuckled and took a picture.
What To See At Panorama
Other highlights of the High Line's Panorama exhibition would be Elmgreen & Dragset giant telescope which, although non-functioning, calls attention to the rarely-appreciated southern-facing view from this spot by the park's amphitheater, a vista that includes the Statue of Liberty. I also really liked Andro Wekua's six-foot-high sculpture of a window the artist recalls from his childhood home, and which now rests against a west-facing wall, almost like an artifact someone forgot to clear out, and creating interesting reflections of passers-by. And some of the coolest-sounding works aren't even up yet, including Ryan Gander's marble likeness of his wife, spitting water from her mouth (and, yes, it promises to be a working water fountain); and The Collectivity Project by superstar Olafur Eliasson, who was last seen in this town building giant waterfalls in the middle of our rivers, and for Panorama creates a vast, imaginary citiscape made from two tons of Legos, and which guests are encouraged to rebuild and rebuild and rebuild again.
For More Information on Panorama
Panorama will be on view at the High Line from April 23 (Eliasson's Collectivity Project will go up in mid-May) through March of 2016. All of these works will be located on the first two sections of the park, between Gansevoort and West 30th Streets. IMPORTANT NOTE: if you can, I strongly suggest going during the week, or even at night; the High Line on weekend afternoons has become more crowded that I personally can tolerate. More information on Panorama can be found here.