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Friday, February 13, 2009

Of Bikes and Things

This collage will give you an idea of the range of exhibits that is typically found in the Queens Museum of Art. The focus here is much more community involvement with many displays of installation art and multimedia creations. When I was there most recently, Derick Melander was busy working with children to create a piece like that on display (left photo), Flesh of my Flesh. Articles of second hand clothing were being neatly folded and stacked according to color value - darkest at the bottom and top with a white center. The overall effect of the tower of colored clothing was quite striking and the involvement of adults and children was a great success.
In a small side gallery, an assemblage of car doors with a neon tube, Door Pile, by Corey D'Augustine, was being shown. In the main exhibit room, a number of BMX style bikes affixed to the walls and skateboard ramps was featured.
I was fascinated with the display of the stereobikes, Basszilla and Trebblezilla, made by Future Shock (center photo), made by a group of Trinidadians from Richmond Hill, Queens. The construction of these monster radio bikes is a popular hobby in Trinidad. Some of these can cost as much as $4000 and emit 5000 watts. Gangs of riders roam the streets of Richmond Hill. One report says the the police have been lenient with boom bikes, owing to their appreciation of the workmanship involved in making these things. These are obviously contentious creations, heralded by some as art and condemned by others as more unneeded contributions to a city already laden with noise pollution.
In an ironic twist, on the exit ramp from the main exhibit room, we found a plaster cast of Pietà - a plaster cast of Michelangelo's original work, which in 1964 was transported from the Vatican and displayed at the World's Fair ...