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Posts Tagged ‘public art’

In 2007, conceptual artist Yoko Ono established the John Lennon Peace Tower in Iceland, a beam of multiple, heaven-directed lights that is intended to appear every year from John Lennon’s birthday, Oct. 9, to Dec. 8. It was most recently relit in 2014.

Wikipedia says, “The Imagine Peace Tower (Icelandic: Friðarsúlan, meaning ‘the peace column’) is a memorial to John Lennon from his widow, Yoko Ono, located on Viðey Island in Kollafjörður Bay near Reykjavík, Iceland.

“It consists of a tall tower of light, projected from a white stone monument that has the words ‘Imagine Peace’ carved into it in 24 languages. These words, and the name of the tower, are a reference to Lennon’s peace anthem ‘Imagine.’

“The Tower consists of 15 searchlights with prisms that act as mirrors, reflecting the column of light vertically into the sky from a 10-metre wide wishing well. … The power for the lights is provided by Iceland’s unique geothermal energy grid. It uses approximately 75 killowatts of power.

“Buried underneath the light tower are over 1 million written wishes that Ono gathered over the years in another project, called Wish Trees. … Iceland was selected for the project because of its beauty and its ecofriendly use of geothermal energy.” More at Wikipedia.

Says the Peace Tower website: “One of the mesmerising features of the Imagine Peace  Tower is that the strength, intensity and brilliance of its light continually changes with the prevailing weather and atmospheric conditions unique to Iceland – creating a clear pillar of light on a cloudless night, beams irridescing with rainbow refractions in rain or snowfall, and brilliantly reflecting off and through any moving layers of cloud.” More.

Photo: McKay Savage
“Imagine Peace” Tower

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On the corner of Congress and Farnsworth, there is a parking lot, and on the Fort Point Channel side of the parking lot, there is a Lego-size police station. In case you are ever lost around there and need to ask for directions. If LL Bean is more your thing, there’s one by the parking lot, too. I took two pictures.

The clouds at dawn have been especially good lately. I include two shots in case you are not up early. Roses need no elaboration, but I am quite proud of how the yellow mullein turned out the second time I tried to capture it. A granddaughter was with me at the time, in the stroller.

Moving right along, there is a shot of the fishing fleet in Rhode Island. The country road photo was supposed to show you a goldfinch, but even when I zoom in, it is too tiny to see. The still pond is called John E’s Tughole. A tughole is a place where peat is harvested, but I don’t think it happens much anymore. Maybe in Ireland. I know James used to harvest peat. And burn it, too.

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I love the Fort Point area of Boston, across a channel from where I work. But even on a moderately stormy day, the water rises so high it threatens to overflow the banks. So the thinking behind one of the latest art installations there is no joke.

Peter Agoos’s “Tropical Fort Point” ( April 28 – June 15, 2014) is part of the the spring public art series presented by the Fort Point Arts Community Inc. Agoos says about his floating palm trees, “The struggle for quality public open space in the neighborhood and the likelihood of climate change-induced rising sea levels are the conceptual parents of Tropical Fort Point.”

There are several other new presentations around the area. “I Wandered,” by Kate Gilbert and Karen Shanley, “celebrates the joyous arrival of spring and invites you to explore the Fort Point through poetry. Large graphic daffodils and select phrases from ‘I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud,’ William Wordsworth’s 1807 poem about discovering a ‘host of dancing daffodils,’ can be found in five different spots around the neighborhood—encouraging us to … reconnect with the lost art of meditative walking.”

“Silver Lining,” by Elisa Hamilton, “is an inclusive exploration of our relationship with hope that invites the public to engage in the brilliance of possibility.” See photos and artist statements at Fort Point Arts, here.

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I love Amtrak, and I love writing, but I don’t think I am ever going to do an Amtrak Artist Residency, so I am passing along the info so you can apply. It sounds like fun. Just glimpsing the exposed backs of houses along the tracks with their hints of the private lives lived in them is inspiration for a ream of stories.

William Grimes writes for the NY Times blog ArtBeat, “The wheels have begun moving on Amtrak’s plan to offer writers a rolling residency aboard their trains. … Up to 24 writers, chosen from a pool of applicants, will be given a round-trip ticket on a long-distance train, including a private sleeper-car room with a bed, a desk, and electrical outlets. …

“The idea was born in December when the novelist Alexander Chee, in an interview with the magazine PEN America, casually mentioned his love for writing on trains, and added, jokingly, ‘I wish Amtrak had residencies for writers.’

“When Jessica Gross, a writer in New York, echoed the sentiment on Twitter, Amtrak arranged for her to do a trial residency on the Lake Shore Limited from New York to Chicago. She agreed.

“Her account of the trip, ‘Writing the Lake Shore Limited,’ published by The Paris Review in February, grabbed the attention of The Wire, The New Yorker and The Huffington Post. Soon after, Amtrak decided to turn the trial run into a full-fledged program.” More on when and how to apply.

Even before that series of events, there was the Whistlestop Arts Train, you know. I blogged about the rolling public art project by Doug Aitken last July, here.

Trains for dreaming. Holiday model train layout at Amtrak’s South Station, Boston.

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The Street Pianos are in Boston and getting some enthusiastic use. Today was a lovely day to be outside, and I saw several people of varying skill levels playing the two pianos in Dewey Square.

Occupy Boston’s time in the square having failed to do anything to change the tragedy of homelessness, a loose-knit fraternity were hanging out, listening to the music or taking a turn. A group of us from work went over to hear an economist/musician play duets with strangers and then start taking requests.

Since the pianos are supposed to stay outdoors in Boston until October 14 — sunshine, rain, or snow — several colleagues were wondering about how the Celebrity Series folks, who are sponsoring them, intend to keep the pianos safe. We concluded that the huge pieces of plastic nearby were placed there in the faith that public-spirited passerby would do the right thing in case of a cloudburst.

It was a beautiful day for a work break singing Gospel, rock, “Climb Every Mountain, and “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” (for a toddler in a stroller whose mom stopped to watch).

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You may recall a past post about the Greenway mural by Os Gemeos, Brazilian twins who had a show at the Institute of Contemporary Art and painted street art around Boston when they were here. I posted pictures of their work-in-progress for the Greenway, here.

Geoff Hargadon photographed the finished work for the Boston Globe, below.

That giant mural is gone now, and Matthew Ritchie is working on the next one. I took a picture of it today and plan to take more for the blog as Ritchie wraps up.

Geoff Edgers at the Globe gives some background on this new piece. “The Institute of Contemporary Art has commissioned British-born Matthew Ritchie, known for using scientific principles to inspire his work, to take over the enormous outdoor canvas.

“Ritchie’s 5,000-square-foot seascape will be installed the week of Sept. 16 and remain up for as long as 18 months.

“The collaboration … is part of a residency for Ritchie that will include a multimedia performance with members of the rock bands The Breeders and The National, concerts at the museum and elsewhere, and a video project to be produced with the ICA’s teen program. But the biggest splash for the public will come on the exterior of the Big Dig ventilation building in Dewey Square.”

Read more at the Globe, here, and at the Greenway site, here.

Photo: Suzanne’s Mom

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Along the Greenway, there is a changing array of public art. This photographic display was borrowed from New York City. The themes are Home, Streets, Creatures, Play, and People. The artists are all topnotch, but the location — set way back from the sidewalk and alongside a superhighway — makes me think that not many people are going to take a good look at it.

Ilona Szwarc entered this one in People/Rodeo Girls.

The artist says, “Rodeo Girls is an ongoing portrait project about young girls from Texas who compete in rodeos. These individuals have a fundamentally different idea about their femininity and a contrasting attitude towards gender roles. … They grow up according to a male archetype and I am examining how their lives and identities are shaped by their surroundings. The photographs celebrate the beauty of the terrain and the idiosyncrasies of this old fashioned American tradition, which is recently vanishing.”

The Fence is “a summer-long, outdoor photographic exhibition that explores the essence of community across cultural boundaries and geographical lines. The Fence is a site-specific exhibition stretching over 1000ft in length, culled from a call for submissions; we asked our community of photographers across the globe to respond to the question – ‘what makes up a community?’ ” More at the project’s website, here.

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