Pier Pressure: High Line Art Resurrects Classic Willoughby Sharp Waterfront Show

The pier. (Photo by Timothy Schenck, courtesy Friends of the High Line)

Over the past decade, as luxurious buildings, parks, restaurants and clubs have popped up near the Hudson River in the Meatpacking District and West Chelsea, Pier 54, which is located at about West 13th Street, has sat desolate, uninhabited except for the occasional concert or special event, and in 2012 the Hudson River Park Trust cut off access to most of the 800-foot-long, 104-year-old pier since it is at risk of collapsing.

“I see that pier from my window, from the High Line office, and it’s a landscape that is completely separated from what we connect to art, which is of course Chelsea,” Cecilia Alemani, the director and curator of High Line Art, told me by phone last week. “It is such an amazing pier. It has this wonderful metal framework at the entrance, and it’s where the survivors of the Titanic were brought. It’s a pier that is very rich in history, but now is just sitting there.” Read More

public art

On Tap in Manhattan: ‘Williamsburg’ Brew

Josh Kline, 'Cafe Gratitude,' 2012. Installation view from 'Public Relations' at Night Gallery, Los Angeles. (Courtesy the artist)

Curator Cecilia Alemani has recently been watching hi-tech gadgets, hipster snacks and bits of clothing get reduced to liquid in a blender. Artist Josh Kline is the man hitting the start button, preparing a sculpture that Ms. Alemani, the director of the High Line’s art program, has commissioned for her latest group show in the elevated park. The piece will be a commercial refrigerator stocked with smoothies designed for various lifestyles. The ingredients in the “Williamsburg” brew include kale chips, Kombucha and an American Apparel T-shirt. The “night life” is a concoction of Coke Zero and squid ink. Read More

public art

For the Birds: Next High Line Show, ‘Busted,’ Examines Official Public Sculpture

4 Photos

Goshka Macuga, Colin Powell, 2011

“Maybe because I’m Italian, I kept thinking of the High Line as a big boulevard or like a street of the Roman forum, and the public sculptures that dot that landscape,” High Line curator Cecilia Alemani said by phone last week.

Ms. Alemani was discussing her latest exhibition, “Busted,” which opens along the mile-long elevated park next month. It includes artworks that play with the conventions of such official public artworks. They’re by nine artists, many of whom rarely produce public art, like George Condo, who has made a beastly head titled Liquor Store Attendant, and Goshka Macuga, who is contributing a bust of Colin Powell delivering his infamous 2003 speech at the United Nations, gingerly holding that famous vial of anthrax. Read More


Light Metal: El Anatsui Weaves Delicate Tapestries From Rough Material

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Broken Bridge II, 2012, on the High Line

On a mild weekday morning late last month, a scrum of journalists and the Ghanaian artist El Anatsui stood inside a viewing room at an art storage building on 20th Street in far west Chelsea. They were flanked by a few of Mr. Anatsui’s new artworks—large, undulating tapestries that he and his assistants weave at his studio in Nigeria from thousands of bits of discarded metal, mostly bottle caps and folded-up foil wrappers. The press preview had originally been scheduled to take place down the street at Mr. Anatsui’s gallery, Jack Shainman, but Sandy had flooded Shainman’s basement, and the artist’s show had been to be postponed. It opens this Friday, Dec. 14. Read More


High Line Begins Final Expansion

Plans for the High Line extension. (Courtesy High Line at the Rail Yards)

Yesterday, little kids gathered to toss native plant seeds onto wild terrain at the High Line. Along with city officials and High Line advocates, the tots were celebrating the groundbreaking for the development of the third and last stretch of the elevated park over Chelsea built around a defunct rail trestle. The project, which costs $90 million, will open the park from 30th to 34th Streets around the proposed Hudson Yards development. The project will take place in three phases, with the first phase expected to be completed in 2014. Read More

public art

High Line Art Marks Cage Centennial With Film and Sound Presentation

John Cage, 'One^11 and 103,' 1992. (Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix)

Though it’s somehow hard to believe, John Cage, who died in 1992 at the age of 79, would have turned 100 this year, on Sept. 5. High Line Art is marking the upcoming centennial by joining with Electronic Arts Intermix and Friends of the High Line to present Cage’s film and sound piece One11 and 103 (1992), from Aug. 2 through Sept. 13, on loop, as part of its new High Line Channel 14 series, which will present “films, videos, and sound installations” in the span of the High Line that stretches across West 14th Street. Read More


It’s All Happening at the High Line Zoo

The Highline Zoo at night (Courtesy Highlinezoo.com)

If you walk the High Line park at night, you’ll see emus, elephants and psychedelic monkeys in mid-swing, all aglow. And this is without the use of hallucinogens. A group of artists including Sun Bae, Stuart Braunstein and Jordan Betten have transformed a Chelsea rooftop, between West 27th and 28th Streets, into a glowing sculpture garden with sound and video. Read More