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  • Michael Krakovskiy 5:29 am on July 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Along the Way, Collage, Coney Island Baby, Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue, Doug Starn, , Fulton Street Transit Center, Mike Starn, mixed media, Modern painters, , , Playland, Robert Wilson, Romare Bearden, Roy Lichtenstein, Site-specific art, Sol LeWitt, Times Square, Times Square – 42nd Street,   

    Along the Way: MTA Arts for Transit 

    Along the Way is a tour through New York’s underground museum of contemporary art, works commissioned by MTA Arts for Transit for the subway system and commuter rail lines. Vivid murals by Roy Lichtenstein and Romare Bearden convey the energy of Times Square, while Robert Wilson’s Coney Island Baby captures the festive spirit of the city’s playland. Currently underway are a photographic installation by Mike and Doug Starn at the new Fulton Street Transit Center and a large-scale ceramic wall drawing by Sol LeWitt at Columbus Circle.

    Initiated in 1985, this collection of site-specific public art now encompasses more than 150 pieces in mosaic, terra-cotta, bronze, faceted glass, and mixed media. The program takes its cue from the original mandate that the subways be designed, constructed, and maintained with a view to the beauty of their appearance, as well as to their efficiency. Arts for Transit is committed to the preservation and restoration of the original ornament of the system and to commissioning new works that exemplify the principles of public art, relating directly to the places in which they are installed and the community around them.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 3:13 pm on October 27, 2007 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Times Square, Woolworth Building   

    Stigma and the City 

    New York is like a hot girl in high school. One that’s easy to love, easy to hate, and easy to pretend that you don’t care about at all (since she does not notice you anyway). New York is beautiful, ugly, cruel and kind — all at the same time. They are both high  maintenance and high rent.

    My high school experience was surprisingly non-traumatic. I never tried to pretend to be someone I’m not, to hide my geekiness and foreignness.  Strangely enough  that made me feel like I actually fit in, even though  I probably did not.  And while I “missed my chance” in high school, my love affair with New York City is going strong.

    Side Note: my high school’s only famous alumni is Larry David, creator of Seinfeld and the inspiration for the character of George Costanza.

    Tourists to New Yorkers are what geeks and nerds are to jocks.  This highly insensitive sign in front of the currently inaccessible to the public lobby of the Woolworth Building.

    Tourists are not permitted

    I spent the last 14 years in New York, but to this day I have not lost the feeling of being a tourist. I constantly carry a brick of a camera with me (mostly in my bag, but often on a strap around my neck) and  gawk at the skyscrapers. Most of my co-workers avoid Times Square like the plague because of all the slow moving tourists. I, on the other hand, feel at home there.

    If the tourist is the lowest of New York’s inhabitants, there’s even more gradation. New York is not just Manhattan. There are 4 other boroughs plus Long Island and New Jersey, denizens of which can only reach Manhattan via a bridge or a tunnel and are collectively known as “the bridge and tunnel crowd” .  The moniker is not precise —  there are four other ways to reach the city the I know of:  ferry, water taxi, helicopter taxi, and Roosevelt Island Tram.  I am a proud bridge and tunneler as well.

    One of my first jobs in Brooklyn was circular delivery — those annoying little advertisement newspapers that you find wedged into your door or mailbox.  I spent a lot of time methodically crisscrossing  Brooklyn’s street grid, visiting many different neighborhoods.  I used to mark the street map that I visited to make sure that I covered the area that I was supposed to cover. I wonder if they use GPS to insure that the delivery men cover their area now. There are few things that I like more than walking Manhattan’s streets, watching people and arhitecture and taking pictures.

    I am thinking of two projects. First – visiting every single street in Manhattan with the help of GPS. I believe that this was done already, as well as my ongoing (but mostly unpublished NYC Tarot photography project). But secondly, I want to take a series of photographs from the middle of Manhattan’s street intersections – there’s something about the view of NYC’s streets from the intersections that fascinates me, and it’s a view that few people explore.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 6:14 am on August 18, 2006 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Euphoriants, Laudanum, MDMA, NARC, Opiates, Times Square, Video game censorship, Video Power   

    Daddy’s Little Narc 

    For many years I’ve been passing a DEA museum that was located right in Times Square. Once, after work, I had a bit of time to kill, so I decided to see what was inside. Although there was a bit of a wait to get in as all the visitors’ bags had to be checked, the admission was free. I am glad I went there, as the museum is now closed. I have no idea how they could afford the rent.

    The expected, yet educational portion of the exibits was not particularly interesting. Bongs, rolling papers, pipes and old Laudanum bottles. Big whoop.

    Ecstasy tablets with funny logos and such. Also not very exciting.

    But I think the people who came up with the idea of this museum and funded it smoked some of the exhibits, as the big installation pieces were rather artistic and surreal.

    There was this interactive exhibit where you stand in what looks like a cheap motel room, but then you flick a switch and a wall slides over, showing you that your hypothetical neighbor is probably engaged in some illicit activities.

    Even more surreal was a recreation of a Columbian cocaine lab, right in front of a glass window facing a busy Manhattan street.

    Unfortunately it was late and the gift shop was closed and dark, but I spied this adorable little item:

     
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