About the Exhibition
Parklife continues MetroTech’s commitment to supporting the work of emerging New York artists. Each year artists are asked to respond to the Commons, the public spaces surrounding the vibrant downtown areas of MetroTech Center and Brooklyn Polytechnic. The artists selected for this year’s exhibition—Isidro Blasco, Liz Craft, Peter Gould, Elke Lehmann, and Franco Mondini-Ruiz—have each created new works that react to the area’s landscaped surroundings.
Isidro Blasco, After the End
For the lobby at One MetroTech Center, Isidro Blasco (b.1962, Madrid, Spain) transforms the notion of a “tree house” into a literal endeavor. Taking the shape of a tree as a basis, he has substituted the trunk, branches, and leaf canopy with pine wood palettes and photographs that depict several rooms in his apartment. Exploring the limits of everyday space, After the End disassembles the familiar and reconstitutes it as a baroque visual experience, one in dramatic contrast to the smooth marble walls and floors of MetroTech One. Spontaneous and vigorous, the lines of After the End sweep upward and around, creating multiple vistas and a cohesive composition.
Liz Craft, Lasso of Love
Lasso of Love, a cast bronze sculpture, is characteristic of Liz Craft’s playful yet accomplished approach to art-making. Craft (b.1970, Los Angeles, CA) created a thick rope rising upward from its coiled base to form a lasso loop; dangling from it are twelve larger-than-life charms. Each charm represents a different zodiac symbol—the Gemini twins, Taurus’s bull, Virgo’s maiden, and so on. Made entirely of bronze, Lasso of Love rises six feet into the air, a paradoxically vertical position for a length of rope. Referencing astrology, psychedelic aesthetics, and childhood toys, Lasso of Love is a topsy-turvy view of the cosmos, prompting speculation as to whether Craft’s charmed work is reaching upwards or has fallen from above.
Peter Gould, The Crooked Mile
After visiting MetroTech on several occasions, Peter Gould (Australia) noticed an unpaved walking path cutting across a lawn, not far from the paved walkways in the Commons. For The Crooked Mile, Gould has exaggerated this rather mundane interaction with nature—the everyday foot traffic of people shortcutting across the lawn—by upgrading the casually worn path to a fully landscaped element. His meandering path has white pea gravel, a ranch-style fence with pastel details, new shrubbery, a footbridge, and a gate. Although functional, this “improved” passageway is a colorful riff on the constructed environment of the Commons, one that prompts viewers to experience a familiar place anew.
Elke Lehmann, Black and White Tree
For Black and White Tree, a site-specific project at MetroTech Center, Elke Lehmann (b.1966, Trier, Germany) has focused on a single tree, one of the dozens of trees that line the perimeter of the Commons. Lehmann made black-and-white photographic reproductions of the tree’s leaves, undertaking a meticulous process of cutting the leaves and affixing a wire stem to each one. In autumn, before the leaves begin to drop, every natural leaf on the tree will be paired with a black-and white duplicate, creating leaf clusters that resemble x-ray versions of the real thing. As the natural leaves fall, the reproductions will become increasingly dominant and, in the winter months, the tree will be a shadow version of itself, covered only with colorless leaves.
Franco Mondini-Ruiz, Polvo en el Viento (Dust in the Wind)
For the lobby of MetroTech Center One, Franco Mondini-Ruiz (b.1961, USA) has created Polvo en el Viento (Dust in the Wind). Working with a local Peruvian-Ecuadorian band, he made a life-size, photographic cut-out of an Andean flute band in concert. For three days in early September, Polvo en el Viento toured New York City, appearing briefly in Times Square, Astor Place, the Chelsea gallery district, and elsewhere. During that time, viewers approaching the two-dimensional cut-out heard a recording of the band, Agua Clara, playing their rendition of popular songs like Kansas’ Dust in the Wind and Frank Sinatra’s My Way. Playing up the fact that bands of this sort sometimes seem ubiquitous, Mondini-Ruiz’s humorous and engaging exploration of art and societal issues addresses cultural globalization and appropriation, political correctness, high versus low art, and recent Latin American history.