Swimming Pools, Art & Van Gogh's Ear. It's All Here in NYC, you HEAR?!
Warmer (sort of warmer) weather has arrived!
And with these warmer temperatures comes a flock of fun, outdoor things to see and do, throughout this magical city that I get to call home.
One of the best things New York City has to offer is a plethora of public art. Whether it be street art, pop up galleries, or open air exhibits, you'll be amazed at the random musings you'll stumble upon at any given time.
In partnership with the Public Art Fund, Starting April 13th, artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset took to the streets of NYC and have completely transformed the Fifth Avenue entrance to the Channel Gardens at Rockefeller Center.
It's thanks to non profits like the Public Art Fund, that we can enjoy free cool stuff like this. Public Art Fund brings dynamic contemporary art to a broad audience in New York City by mounting ambitious free exhibitions of international scope and impact that offer the public powerful experiences with art and the urban environment.
What you'll see at first, is a flat out HUGE swimming pool, standing in an upright position. But, walk closer, and you'll discover, the meaning behind this massive pool- which by the way, made me want to pull out my bikini and tan, right there.
The artists, call it: Van Gogh’s Ear. It is indeed a sculpture, which takes the form of a swimming pool sitting upright. But why Van Gogh? And why his ear?
The artists say he title Van Gogh’s Ear plays on the mythological versus the ordinary. They thought it was a perfect name for a swimming pool of this shape. It opens up the possibility for a different perception of the form itself. And like the myth of Van Gogh cutting off his ear in despair, the dislocated pool will hopefully make people wonder ‘why?’.
Now through June 3, (right on 5th Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets) you can spend countless minutes (or hours) trying to take the perfect shot of Elmgreen & Dragset’s 9-meter (30-foot) high, empty swimming pool.
When I say MASSIVE, I mean it stands upright on its shortest side, supported by a visible construction on its backside. It appears almost like a ready-made, displayed as if “for sale in a showroom.”
So we all want to know, I mean- at least I am always curious to understand the artist's interpretation of their own work. So here goes:
A century after Marcel Duchamp (a French, naturalized American painter, sculptor, chess player and writer whose work is associated with Cubism, conceptual art and Dada) began working with ready-mades, Elmgreen & Dragset have continued his practice by isolating a common object from its functional context.
But wait, what is a ready made? I didn't know, so I had to google:
They are ordinary manufactured objects that the artist selected and modified, as an antidote to what he called "retinal art". By simply choosing the object (or objects) and repositioning or joining, titling and signing it, the Found object became art.
So, basically, you pick a super basic object, and positioning it in a certain way, and call it art.
SO, I could do that with, let's say, my toilet? OK. Cool.
Anyway, the sense of isolation is magnified due to the scarcity of personal pools in a densely populated city like New York, as opposed to the West Coast.
By re-positioning a pool in an unlikely place like the prominent Rockefeller Plaza, right at Fifth Avenue, the artists achieve a simple displacement of the kind for which they are well known.
It challenges our associations and expectations of a particular setting. The pool—re-positioned into the surroundings of urban life, tourists, skyscrapers, and businesses—seems like a foreign object that has somehow landed there in the plaza.
The sculptural qualities of the object itself, from the curves created by different depths and the overall shape of the pool, to the protruding diving board, become apparent when it is singularly presented in this upright position, rather than dug down into the ground.
Like Elmgreen & Dragset’s previous projects such as Prada Marfa (a Prada store located in the middle of the Texan desert), the swimming pool creates a feeling of alienation, and brings attention to its context by its very otherness.
If you're in NYC any time from now until June 3, stop by and take a selfie with it!
Selfie tip: Stand on the other side of the street if you want to get the whole pool (or ear) in your pic!
Happy Spring Y'all!