Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tying one on at Astor Place

Yesterday, Bobby Williams spotted workers placing neon zip ties on light poles on Astor Place...




And V.H. McKenzie notes some of the final product today....



[Update] Thanks to Eric G. for letting us know that this is part of an art project from the Animus Art Collective for this year's Summer Streets program.

[Update] Two shots from EV Grieve reader Joe...


34 comments:

C(h)ristine said...

this is beyond rad. i think i will brave the sun/heat to see this! do you know for what this is?

EV Grieve said...

Hi C(h)ristine,

Thanks for the comment. I'm not sure who is responsible for this or what it is for. I need to get over there myself now that I've seen the photos!

Anonymous said...

What's to see? it's zip ties on a light pole.

Anonymous said...

when i saw them installing it i thought it was to keep birds away from the pole

eric.g said...

I got a few shots of this yesterday as well (posted at http://freeasinkittens.com/erics-blog/arresting-art ).

I spoke with one of the women working on the installation, she said it was a project of an arts collective called Animus Art. The installation, called Flaming Cactus is part of the DOT's Summer Streets program

EV Grieve said...

Thanks, Eric!

Anonymous said...

i feel sorry for the DOT worker who has to remove all the (hard to remove) zip ties after this exhibit.

VH McKenzie said...

Why so many (anonymous)Debby Downers? It livelies up the place. It's cheerful, colorful, and just silly.

I doubt the artists will expect the DOT to remove the exhibit. Come on, lighten up..........

James Taylor said...

I saw this going on yesterday. What a humungous waste of time, money and energy.

Anonymous said...

You know, it's good that people express themselves. But there's something about this kind of stuff I really hate. I mean you can take ANYTHING; multiply it by a tremendous number, and now; oh; it's art.
The Ball-Pit at Chuck E Cheese is better.

James Taylor said...

Obviously this isn't Art. But where is the quality control? Why does people just accept things?

If I were so inclined to spend a summer's afternoon atop a pneumatic ladder affixing pieces of fluorescent plastic to lampposts there would surely come a moment where I would ask myself, "Why am I doing this? What is the point? Is this really worth it?"

But that's just me. I can only conclude that this kind of project is generally the result of extreme boredom and/or very dull parents.

Anonymous said...

This pile of garbage in front of garbage (starbucks) belongs in the garbage.

Where is the mosaic man when you need him?!

Anonymous said...

James Taylor - go back to Martha's Vineyard.

Anonymous said...

Hello all. I was part of the installation. I just wanted to chime in to assure readers that WE, the group that installed them, are responsible for the removal of the zip ties once the installation has run its course. ANIMUS was commissioned by the DOT to install Flaming Cactus at Astor Place after seeing it on Governors Island during FIGMENT. Flaming Cactus doesn't aim to be highbrow; the underlying goal is just to demonstrate that everyday objects can be transformed into something interesting just by combining them in unusual ways. It's art on a shoestring budget. Those of you that like the piece - enjoy. Those of you that don't - suck it up, we'll be back to take it down in June 2012.

James Taylor said...

Whoa! We have to live with these eyesores for another year? Maybe I will go back to Martha's Vineyard...

Anonymous said...

Actually, they will look pretty awesome after a snowstorm.

esquared said...

might as well: the starbucks is an eyesore; the walgreen is an eyesore; that chase bank and that condo are eyesores...an eyesore for an eyesore

C(h)ristine said...

I loved this, fwiw. People all over Astor Place were doing doubletakes and stopping and staring and smiling (parking attendants were sitting outside on break, admiring the art, too). The art is really cheerful and completely transforms the mood of Astor Place.

I bet you people thought (and a handful probably still think) Pollock and Rothko's works were pieces of shit, too. But then again, no one else thought to do what they did.

C(h)ristine said...

i took some pictures of the art installation at Astor Place--and as much as I enjoyed the zip tie installation...I enjoyed the doubletakes and admiring looks from New Yorkers, which are very visible in some of my photos here on flickr.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cristine/sets/72157627334576336/

James Taylor said...

Dear C(h)ristine,

That a debate surrounding what essentially amounts to a glorified high school project has compelled you to cite the names of two of this country's greatest Abstract Expressionists (just feet from the hub of their activity no less) suggests that you are hardly in a position to comment on Art (or even art).

And while I'm all for "cheerful and colorful", I've personally always been more partial to "clever and interesting". This is New York -- don't we deserve better? Why would a city that witnessed Pollock and Rothko give two hoots about fluorescent plastic? I wonder if we'll still be talking about the Astor Place zip ties fifty years (or even twelve months) from now...

Forgive me if I persist in my unwavering argument against this installation. It's just that I take tremendous offense when I see the visual and cultural aesthetic of this great city routinely transformed by the fleeting whims of morons with nothing better to do.

Best regards,

James C. Taylor

PS: I'd keep the "H".

C(h)ristine said...

Dear James C. Taylor,

I don't think I went so far as to make a personal attack, but you did. I don't fault you for your opinion--why should you fault me (or the way in which I spell my name) for mine?

I like the installation. I don't think it's A/art on the level of Pollock/Rothko, either (and for implying that, I apologize)--but it is art. It does transform the mood of Astor Place, and I love the ways in which people react to the installations. And for that, I appreciate "Flaming Cactus."

You don't have to appreciate it. That's fine. I'm not insulted by that fact. But I don't think it's a "p.o.s.," either.

Shannon said...

I think this is great.

James Taylor said...

C(h)ristine,

I'm sorry if you felt attacked -- I don't wish for this discussion to get personal. Naturally, you're as entitled to your opinion as everybody else. If you like it, then good for you -- at least you won't have to spend the next ten months walking through Astor Place with your eyes covered in shame.

It's true that public installations generate a lot of public reaction, and if that was the purpose of this project then I guess it succeeded! But apart from that there doesn't appear to be much pervading thought behind the idea.

I think people in general need to be more discerning. I disagree that this is art. I consider it quite dangerous to elevate something to that level simply because it's been endorsed to exist for our viewing pleasure.

Preston Dane said...

As the creator of this project it gives me great delight that people are enjoying it. Naturally not everyone will "get it" and it's natural that those who don't will feel the need to lash out and say venomous things.

Indeed while this wasn't our most sophisticated work, it is still something I'm immensely proud of. Our hope was to show that making art doesn't require a lot of money, formal training, or resources. Creativity is something we're all capable of. I personally think the brilliance of the piece lies in its simplicity.

If you'd like to see some of our other work, please visit our website: www.AnimusArt.com

Regards,

Preston

Anonymous said...

Well, to all the haters, the next time you get commissioned by the city to do a public artwork, you can do it better, cleverer, and more awesome.

We all look forward to seeing what you come up with.

EV Grieve said...

Thanks for the comment, Preston.

Anonymous said...

"to all the haters, the next time you get commissioned by the city to do a public artwork, you can do it better, cleverer, and more awesome."

that's just like asking someone who criticized a movie for being a bomb to make a better movie.

if the creator cannot take the criticism of his "art", then maybe he should not be an artist. just a typical narcissist who when they don't get their way, they become extremely anxious. irrational fear of annihilation, sends them into a primitive, infantile rage.

of course the city, i.e., bloomberg administration would commission a bland piece such as this one. he has already blandify and sucked the soul, and edge out of the city. i, too, look forward to whatever you come up with next. good luck to the future of art.

James Taylor said...

Preston Dane,

Now that the creator of the installation has entered the discussion I'd love to know what your thoughts were in conceiving "Flaming Cactus", besides drawing attention to the obvious fact that you don't need money or resources to make a work of art. Of course art does not have to be "sophisticated" -- might we at least hope that it be interesting?

CB said...

I think the "ziptie trees" as I call them are a thing of beauty... light poles are ugly-- and trees are beautiful... thanks for making durable, inexpensive and colorful trees where before there were only poles. Art is emotional-- and all I can say is this made me stop and stare and smile. Critics who have opinions about what art should and shouldn't be, walk past genius musicians in the subway without a second glance, but will pay $100 to hear them in a concert hall.

eric.g said...

I found the installation to be interesting when I first saw it. Sure, it's not "fine art" but as the folks from animus said, the real beauty of it is in the simple nature of the materials.

Seeing them again today during the Summer Streets program (which this was commissioned as part of) made the beauty of it all stand out.

Considering that when I see zipties I think of mass arrests at protests and critical mass rides, seeing the ziptie covered polls marking the boundaries of this liberated zone of car free fun spoke to me in interesting ways.

blue glass said...

years ago the 10th street side of TSP was lined with mesh garbage cans full of colored scraps of paper - what i called "art du garbage".
i didn't think it was art, nor do i think the baggie ties are art.
but they are colorful and fun.

does anybody remember that project?

Anonymous said...

I love the way the artist refers to himself as the "creator" of this piece and throwing in that the city has commissioned this piece. As if to say, "you must bow down to this "art" since I created this and the city approved it". I don't think Pollock or Rothko ever referred to themselves as "creator".

marjorie said...

I wasn't aware of the comment thrash till Grieve posted the NYT link. Jeez, people: It's a low-cost art project. (And speaking of low-cost, smiling is as cheap as scowling. PLUS it uses fewer facial muscles. Save your energy.) Come on -- it's cute, it's bright, it makes you reconsider zip ties. (OK, so it's not as impressive as the Johns Hopkins med school people using them for open heart surgery -- http://medgadget.com/2006/06/hopkins_student.htm -- but you can't have everything.) With all we have in this neighborhood to really be distressed about, you gonna focus on ZIP TIES?

Anonymous said...

The best aspect of this installation is that it prevents the horrid eyesore of all the spamming stickers which pollute every light pole in this city. There are laws against such illegal postering - why are they not enforced, as they are in other cities?

- East Villager