The Migratory Greenhouse
Most people who trick out their trucks do it with a sexy paint job or a hardcore sound system, but Brooklyn artist Austin Shull opted for a greenhouse instead. Part art project, part food source, this sweet little ride is pushing up a "bumper crop" of tomatoes, carrots, onions, lettuce, kale, broccoli, collards, herbs, beets, peppers, squash, and zinnias.
The greenhouse is aimed at addressing issues around urban living and real estate. It “came about as a sort of natural progression in my work, all of which is influenced by social, political, economic issues—the rise and proliferation of neo-liberalism—and environmental concerns,” Shull said. “I am particularly concerned with the compounding of all these issues in this historical moment, which may result in disastrous social conditions.”
Shull was also concerned about potentially disastrous conditions when building the $1,500 project. “I was worried that we were building an oven, or that the driving would kill the plants,” he said. “Luckily they actually seem to like growing in the greenhouse.”
They look like litter—inconspicuous discarded paper coffee cups, soda cans, and newspapers—but if you hear them chirping, you’re not crazy. They’re Michael Dory’s “Concrete Crickets.” Dory, a master’s candidate in NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications program, started placing the pieces—which he considers commentary on urban spaces aimed at creating “a multi-directional audio experience”—around Williamsburg, Brooklyn, during last month’s Conflux art festival. The works, each programmed with an individual song, go live after dark. To add to the mystery, they are installed with motion sensors that cause them to go silent when an unsuspecting pedestrian approaches to investigate.
“I was looking for a way to create little pockets of serendipity for passersby on city streets at night,” Dory told ARTINFO. “They're still on the streets from time to time, so if you're walking in lower Manhattan you just might find one. Or you might not!”
The 14th Street/Eighth Avenue Subway Station
Everyone who traverses this station knows about its great Tom Otternesssculpture series, “Life Underground.” Cleverly placed in both obviousand hidden locations around the terminal, it seems like we discover anew one of these cartoon commentaries on capitalism every time wetravel through.
But that’s not the only reason the station brightens up our commute.There’s also the artist Joseph (who goes by only his first name). Youmight have seen him next to the stairwell leading to the L train,showing off his quirky drawings and collages, many of which depictsubway cars being attacked by spaceships. Joseph tells us that he’sbeen selling his creations at this station for years. You can grab anoriginal for just $15.
Keep your eyes open for a fleet of art galleries on wheels that will be hitting the streets soon, courtesy of Zipcar. The car-sharing service is turning a few of its vehicles into “Mobile Art Galleries,” which will cruise the city “showcasing the visual arts in impromptu street shows,” according to Zipcar’s newsletter. Artists who are members of the service are competing to have their works showcased. And musicians are getting in on the act, too, submitting songs to be part of the soundtracks for the roving exhibitions.
The Guggenheim’s Postcard
Despite the proliferation of e-mail, most of us still like to be surprised with the good old paper kind once in a while. A recent artwork printed by the Guggenheim on postcards advertising its October 23 “The Worst of Warhol: A Roundtable” discussion wouldn’t have packed half the punch had it landed in patrons’ inboxes instead of their mailboxes. The back of the card is printed with a provocative message from a Richard Prince artwork. Scrawled in pen, it appeared so authentic that it even shocked the New York Observer.