Thursday, April 07, 2005
Went to the Ashes and Snow exhibit today at Pier 54 in New York. It is definitely an interesting experience perhaps most of all because of the design of the "Nomadic Museum" that houses it. The building, designed by Shigeru Ban uses materials that reference the frayed edges of New York City... empty shipping containers, giant cardboard tubes, gravel and raw wood. The view down the central walkway inside is worth the price of admission. It's like entering a cathedral but the industrial palette makes it more poetic than religious. The building and exhibit are designed to be easily disassembled and moved to other port cities. This view made me think about New York's constant state of decay and renewal... showing its age and its ability to define where the urban experience is going next.
As for Gregory Colbert's work... it is certainly interesting, especially given that both the building and art exhibit were entirely self-funded. There are a few beautiful and elegant photographs of elephants being revered by children in traditional dress. But after seeing several of these, the photos start to feel a bit contrived. In photo after photo, the child is peacefully sleeping... in puddles, next to a cheetah, and in various poses with the elephants. I get the whole slow time theme but a bit more subtlety would have been more powerful. Still, the walk down and back is a serene, beautiful and peaceful experience.