Sunday, January 06, 2013

NMWA's New York Ave Sculpture Project: A Closer Look


So, I'm not much a visual arts person. Not by choice, just be experience and preference. But playing Ingress has really made me want to take a much closer look than I have before.  It is an augmented reality game that takes things in the physical world, public art, buildings, etc., and makes them objects to interact with in the virtual world, in the form of portals.

And if you find something that doesn't appear as a portal in the game, you can take a geo-tagged picture of it, and submit it for consideration. So far, work I've submitted has consistently been approved, three of which I mention in a previous blog post.

Today, I wanted to blog about four new findings, all part of the National Museum for Women in the Arts' New York Ave Sculture Project's current exhibit. The work on display is that of Chakaia Booker, and the exhibit opened March 8, 2012 and will end March 9, 2014. So as of the time of this post, you still have a little over a year to catch it.

Ms. Booker is only the second artist to be displayed in this exhibition series. From NMWA's website:
Based in New York, Booker (American, born 1953) works almost exclusively with recycled tires that are cut, shaped and folded, then woven into dynamic, highly textured sculptures. Her large-scale expressive works fuse ecological concerns with explorations of racial and economic difference, globalization, and gender.

Honestly, my mind was blown when I read this. As much as I'd walked and driven by them, I never bothered to wonder what material they were made of, much less what each piece was called. And now that I do, I'm beginning to get just that much more from them and what they mean to me.

What inspired me, though, was playing Ingress and seeing that the only a single portal exists for the sculpture project and it is of a piece from the previous, inaugural exhibit.

So I took pictures and submitted them for consideration. Here are the four pieces she has up:

Pass the Buck, 2008

Gridlock, 2008

Take Out, 2008

Shape Shifter, 2012

Yes, that last piece she made specifically for this exhibit. There's a nice, succinct blog about it and her exhibit here, in the Washington Post from last March.

Now one thing I love about public art, and a lot of the monuments and memorials around DC, is how different they look at night. So, I walked by these pieces before rehearsal at a church down the street, and by the time I left...well, here's what they look like at night, photos taken by myself, again:

Anyway, hope you get a chance to check these pieces out in real life, for yourself.

And for my fellow Ingress players, if you're with me and the Enlightened, you can trust that I will be very passionate about maintaining these for our faction. If you're with the've been warned.

Stay tuned for more posts about public art I've come to appreciate more, all because I'm "playing a game" on my mobile device. But assuming this is another example of how the shapers have influenced us...what do these pieces mean?

And yes, the arts manager in me is all sorts of fascinated by this and wondering how to collect data and feedback from other players regarding their interaction with and appreciation of public art, if and how it's changed.

Thoughts? Do you play? Similar experiences (re)discovering public art/new portals? Would you like to weigh in? Please do so in the comments,

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