So. I am in the “other” borough of Miami at the moment, heretofore known as Manhattan. The planes traversing these two cities are jam-packed with your nearest and dearest since NYC/MIA have always been inexorably linked due to a pesky cold weather situation that has (this winter not included) perpetuated in the northeast.
Day one I de-planed out of LGA and into the International Center of Photography on 6th Avenue and 43rd Street. It houses a research center, museum and school founded in 1974 by Magnum photographer Cornell Capa, younger brother of the illustrious war photographer/journalist Robert Capa. The main exhibition was of luridly gory, in-your-face famed news tabloid photographer Weegee: Murder Is My Business (til 9/2/12). Most known for his crime scene images of the 30’s and 40’s, Weegee (aka Arthur Fellig) specialized in capturing up close and personal moments from the “work” of the very busy Murder, Inc crowd.
By the time I was spit back out onto the sidewalks of New York there was a desperate hunger for an “Amuse Cervelle” to cleanse my jarred and squeamish cerebellum. A glorious late spring afternoon was my oyster, so I plumped for a walk up Park Avenue to survey Miami sculptor, Rafael Barrios’ nine pieces deposited on the median strip of The Avenue. Happy little fresh spring tulips nestled up to the bases of each 20’ geometric stainless steel sculpture; copious white fluffy blossoms of Callery pear trees softened the backdrop of angular skyscapers.
When I first saw Barrios’s sculpture photos in the Miami Herald a few weeks ago, I was puzzled. It appeared cartoon-like, as if the they were Photo-Shopped onto the scene. On closer on-site inspection, the seemingly solid blocks piled up were actually fairly flat surfaces punctuated by convex and concave squares and rectangles, mimicking where a natural block would bend. The various surfaces sometimes were colored a slightly different shade to aid in the optical impression of the solid block. The way light bounces off each surface brings a further animated “pop”, creating an exaggerated contrast. It would be interesting to visit under a variety of lighting situations and climatic conditions. Barrios has remarked how “Latin American art is beginning to have an international impact”. Apparently he worked with other artists in Miami on the project, including Olivier Haligon, whose great-grandfather was involved in building the Statue of Liberty. Oh those genetics.....they do jump out and reassert, don’t they?
NYC’s Parks Department chose Barrios to show his work through June 30th.
A meander through Central Park back to the Upper West Side at dusk ponied up an explosion of cherry blossoms, forsythia and various unidentified cute little purple things. Nature trumps art, or at least gives it a run for the money.
“Not all those who wander are lost” Tolkien
All photos by Irene Sperber