Friday, May 04, 2007

Friday Art Blogging: The Only One I Know Edition

The trees were still budding days ago when these structures went up in New Brunswick. Yesterday, I took my camera and walked to work, intent on showing you just how big these things are. The man in this picture is probably a little over six feet tall. By the way, I was entirely surprised by just how fast the leaves filled out, and how hard it was to find a clear shot of this image - please don't feel frustrated by the sunshine. After the recent storms, the ground still hasn't dried out. There's mud everywhere.
I love this image with my whole black heart and some of yours. It stands on the corner of Albany and George Streets, on the lawn of Johnson & Johnson's interplanetary headquarters. Buildings to the left obscured by trees and my refusal to look at them were designed by I. M. Pei, who probably looks back on that design and wonders what's in the water out here and how he quit whatever it was cold turkey. Plus, on my walk home from the library, a terrifying parade of slick corporate identi-babes streamed across the sidewalk, flowed across teeming Albany Street and stopped for cross traffic on Nielsen Street. They were talking about hotel arrangements but what I heard sounded like geese honking. They were spike wearing heels on cobble stones. Every one of them had long, straightened brown hair. They were dressed in tight-fitting synthetic suits. I was filled with such revulsion I stepped off the curb and into traffic to get away from them. I had to. I was invisible to them. One actually bumped into me, looked straight at me and was surprised something was in her way.

That's eight hours from when I snapped this picture at the corner of George and Hamilton Streets. It's early. The sun dapples the lawn but smiles on the old stone building behind this structure. In theater, a free-standing, three-sided tower is called a periactoid or periaktoi. It's a good, stable structure offering a stage crew a pile of advantages, the first being no one breaks a foot kicking set supports. One day this week, a strong wind blew off the river, which is about 100 yards behind me in the first image, and a crew blocked the sidewalk on Albany Street with caution tape, lest art take wing and injure the curious.

This line of towers and panels is not far from the one just above. New Brunswick is a small, snug town. Things are close together. Unplanned space looks like broken teeth, except for lawns like this, which create the feeling that these buildings are unapproachable. Most people will not walk up to these panels and examine them. The towers might as well sit in the middle of the Raritan. Ordinarly, I have a problem keeping off lawns and avoiding attractive nuisances but have I mentioned the mud?

Because the sun is low over the river to the east, these panels look and feel bright with possibility. In the afternoons, when the sun has rolled over the leaf canopy and sprawled languidly in the western sky, long shadows like smoke rings vibrate and billow. These images appear through the trees and the shadows, less possibility now than threat, like the growling of an as yet unseen giant cat. We are small and breakable in the eyes of our own imagination.



Blogger Carl said...

Those are some beautiful installations.

10:32 AM  

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