Tag Archives: Park Avenue Armory

Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts

Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts
Fri, March 25 – Wed, March 30, 2011
Park Avenue Armory – presented by the American Folk Art Museum

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety …

“My husband asked me what I wanted. I told him, two things: something I had never seen before, and a gift for New York City. I thought, one thing I’ve never seen is these quilts all at once.” So began the installation of Mrs. Joanna Semel Rose’s six hundred fifty-one red and white quilts. Truly amazing sight to see. Wonderful patterns – spiraling through the cavernous Armory. I’m not really into quilting but I was totally into this show. Go see it!

Her views on collecting are notable and interesting– “I’m not a collector.” “We used to say I’m an accumulator, but I’m a treasure hunter. A collector is always bettering what he has. I only have accumulations of things.”

More flickr pics

Peter Greenaway: Leonardo’s Last Supper

photo courtesy of Park Avenue Armory

Peter Greenaway: Leonardo’s Last Supper
Park Avenue Armory
December 3, 2010 – January 6, 2011

I had three good reasons to see Peter Greenaway’s Last Supper at the Armory this week. First, The Park Avenue Armory has been offering great installations recently ~ Ernesto Neto (flickr pics) and Christian Boltanski (blogpost)just to name a few. Second, I was aware Greenaway had a series of installations illuminating and reinterpreting famous paintings, such as Rembrandt’s “Night Watch” at the Rijksmuseum. Pretty cool idea. Third, I found it completely bizarre that as a film maker he said “the tools of cinema are now wasted on cinema.”

And damn it if I didn’t like the show. I’ve seen Da Vinci’s Last Supper in Milan and I was raised Catholic so I was surprised when I found the installation confusing. Will my high school New Testament classes ever prove useful? The Last Supper segment lacked context. Which was noticeable because there was so much context given to Veronese’s “Wedding at Cana” segment. More importantly, I didn’t have an emotional or intellectual reaction to the piece.

— Incidentally the “Wedding at Cana” segment reminded me of a super cool presentation of Jan Styka’s “The Crucifixion” at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California. It’s the largest permanently mounted religious painting in the world with a guided light show that narrates and illuminates important parts of the painting for viewers. It is so enjoyable with it’s use of 1960s technology!

New York Times review

Christian Boltanski: No Man’s Land

Christian Boltanski, No Man’s Land
Park Avenue Armory
May 14 – June 13

Last weekend I walked over to Park Avenue Armory to see Christian Boltanski’s No Man’s Land. Other than reading Dorothy Spears’ New York Times review, I wasn’t familiar with Boltanski’s work ~ but I do have a soft spot for themes such as the arbitrariness of death and survival so it seemed like a good way to spend the day.

The piece incorporates 30 tons of discarded clothing, a 60-foot crane and the sound of human heartbeats. It explores the signature motifs of the artist’s forty-year career – individuality, anonymity, life and death. Visitors are invited to record their own heartbeat and offer it to the artist as he continues to expand his Archives du coeur, a collection of human heartbeats from around the world.

In chatting with one of the guards about the piece- she shared that Boltanski wanted “ordinary people” operating the cranes. The most interesting part for her was that every union crane operator brought a different style to the piece. So each day, the piece was different.

Sadly, I was a little underwhelmed with the installation – wanting and expecting a more layered experience.

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“We are all so complicated, and then we die. We are a subject one day, with our vanities, our loves, our worries, and then one day, abruptly, we become nothing but an object, an absolutely disgusting pile of shit. We pass very quickly from one stage to the next. It’s very bizarre. It will happen to all of us, and fairly soon too. We become an object you can handle like a stone, but a stone that was someone.”
—Christian Boltanski

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Christian Boltanski

Christian Boltanski