One-Line Reviews: John Cage on the High Line, Yayoi Kusama in Hudson River Park, and More

Elad Lassry's "Women" on the High Line
(Photo by Sara Roffino )

Once again, our intrepid ARTINFO staff set out around our New York offices this week, and came back with these abbreviated (though sometimes run-on) single-sentence reviews of what they saw. This time we focused, because it's the end of summer and because there happens to be a lot of it close to hand, on public art. (To read our One-Line Reviews in illlustrated slide show format, click here.)

* John Cage, "One11 and 103," on the High Line in the West 14th Street Passage, August 2 - September 13


If you want to experience the video component of this John Cage installation revived from 1992 and almost lost in this busy High Line passageway, come at night, otherwise close your eyes against the screen of black-and-white abstractions blanked out by the sun and focus on the strange mixing of loud park noises with Cage's disjointed instrumentals, a chance composition assembled in collaboration with the city, a wholly appropriate tribute for what would have been the 100th birthday of the great found sound composer. — Allison Meier

* Yayoi Kusama, "Guidepost to the New Space," at Hudson River Park Pier 54, Christopher St. at the river, through September 30

You are reminded not to sit, climb, or play on Yayoi Kusama's globular Hudson River park sculptural installation, which makes the installation a bit of a waste, as these blobby polkadot sculptures would have been better as an interactive surrealist playground for park-goers, rather than New York's umpteenth shrine to Kusama. — Ashton Cooper

* Elad Lassry, “Women,” at the High Line, 10th Avenue and West 18th Street, though September 7

In a lighthearted piece well-suited for the High Line in the summertime, Elad Lassry's seemingly similar, but strikingly different, portraits of two women peer out of a dominating, kelly green frame that also serves — or fails to serve? — as the context for the superficially identical women’s divergent expressions of disbelief and doubt. — Sara Roffino

* Malcolm D. MacDougall, "Microscopic Landscape," Union Square Park at East 15th Street, June 14, 2012-January 30, 2013

MacDougall's creeping and pixelated 7,500-pound sculpture parked at the tip of a Union Square traffic island resembles a mashup of a Louise Bourgeois spider and the Wall Street Bull rendered in the infinitely-tessellated style of a Michael Bay Transformer, associations that make it seem both agile and immovable, like some prickly, prowling traffic monster come to clear the streets' congestion. Benjamin Sutton

* Francis Upritchard, “The Seduction,” on the High Line at West 23rd Street, April 19, 2012 – Sunday, April 14, 2013

New Zealand-born, London-based Upritchard's tiny pair of po-faced, shambing apes pawing one another (made for the High Line’s current “Lilliput” commissions) is totally, totally cute, possessing the appeal of characters from some unknown children’s book  — but take note that the title “The Seduction,” the clumsy groping, and the detail of one simian’s puffed up and pendulous buttocks all suggest that the pint-sized work is also a winking joke about human mating rituals, snuck into the teeming, preening landscape of the Chelsea promenade. — Ben Davis

* Erwin Wurm, “Big Kastenmann,” The Standard Hotel at 848 Washington at 13th Street, through November 2012

With it's boxy, buttoned-up top half and free-wheeling, bare-legged bottom, Erwin Wurm's 18-foot-tall sculpture "Big Kastenmann" may serve a purpose as a wry allegory for the Standard Hotel's mischievous, bourgeois guests — but it would still be nice to see Wurm use the human body as more than a punchline one of these days. — Julia Halperin