New York has to have the most active performance art scene in the country. I seem to encounter it nearly every day. Last Friday I saw this “City Meditation Crew” in Union Square hard at work on improving the city’s awareness and relaxation by creating a radiant circle for Gandhi’s birthday. They were part of the Art in Odd Places event that’s going on this month, which I hope to encounter serendipitously throughout October. Friday evening we went to the opening of an exhibit at Six by Six Gallery. It’s a cool concept for a gallery, where all the art must be made on the provided 6×6 canvases and anyone can be in the show as long as they buy the canvas kit.
I spent much of Saturday helping at “No Money No Problems: A Recession Art Show” that was being held in the Invisible Dog Gallery in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, where the toy of the same name used to be made. I had been doing some of their PR and I’ll be gallery sitting a bit this week as well. That night we had a football watch party, although I wasn’t too pleased with the outcome. It seems the Oklahoma football players are as accident prone as I am this year.
On Sunday we visited the NY Art Book Fair in the PS1 Contemporary Art Center, a MOMA affiliate housed in a former public school building. They have great installations in addition to events like the book fair, including the above “Afterparty” structure covered in some type of fake fur. I also loved the “Swimming Pool” inside where you thought you were going to be looking in a normal swimming pool when in fact you were looking at people standing on the floor below you, under the water. The book fair itself was exciting and I picked up a lot of free things like a giant poster of this Christopher Wool painting that is now towering over my bed. It was encouraging to see that the book industry, at least in some form, is alive and well. It made me think about how I might incorporate my fiction or other writing into different projects. I also picked up a form for a poetry chapbook competition that I think I’m going to enter. The deadline is in December, but I think if I work hard I could come up with a good group of poems to submit. I love projects and deadlines.
From the book fair we walked to the nearby 5Pointz, a industrial building covered in amazing (and legal) graffiti. They also have super affordable artist studios inside the building. It reminded me of Tacheles in Berlin, the old shopping center turned artist compound I visited while I was there in February.
There were a few artists working on murals and tags while we were walking by and from what I read online the place is a giant living canvas, with the images changing frequently as the old paint fades. I will have to remember to stop by every once and a while to see its new façade.
Our train ride back into Manhattan was accompanied by a Mariachi band, which I will designate as my favorite subway music genre. Maybe just because it reminds me of Oklahoma and Texas. There’s a surprising diversity with the subway musicians, from the guys with guitars covering Nirvana songs, to the girl with the accordion playing Yann Tiersen music, to the horribly shrill opera wannabes. And then there are the genuinely talented musicians and jam groups that make the hours a week spent underground by me and everyone else in this city more bearable.
We headed to the Lower East Side for International Pickle Day, but in a momentary escape from an overcrowded subway to the somehow less crowded streets we encountered a Polish parade going down 5th Avenue. I had seen a lot of people leaving Greenpoint with red and white clothes and flags and figured there was something going on, but had not idea how huge it was. We watched the parade for a while and then got back on the subway. The lines were a bit long for pickle sampling, but we did get pumpkin cupcakes at Sugar Sweet Sunshine before walking to the East Village.