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Art In Odd Places Festival Invades 14th Street

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

A piece from the Art in Odd Places Festival, which brings guerilla art installations and performance pieces to 14th street for one week each year. A piece from the Art in Odd Places Festival, which brings guerilla art installations and performance pieces to 14th street for one week each year. (Marlon Bishop/WNYC)

If you see anything strange along 14th Street this week, don't worry: it's probably just art.

All week long, the Art in Odd Places festival turns Manhattan's busy thoroughfare into a museum with 70 guerrilla art installations and performance pieces. The works range from laundry hanging on the sidewalk, to quilts made out of garbage that are displayed in bodega windows, to a tree that sings Buddhist chants.

Then, there's an array of zany performances. For example, artist Marissa Mikelberg will walk a goat down the entire length of 14th Street on a leash this weekend. She said the point of the festival was to take art out of its traditional context.

"I've always felt drawn to 14th Street, it seems like a big hub for a lot of activity," she said. "It's a line of demarcation in the city. I think it's a good way of bringing the arts to that space so that more people can be spectators to art and artists."

Art In Odd Places was started by artist Ed Woodham in Atlanta in 1996. The festival moved to New York City in 2005, and since 2008 has happened each year on 14th Street.

The festival is produced in cooperation with a number of art institutions, including the Parsons The New School of Design, the Pratt Institute's Pratt Manhattan Gallery and the Museo Del Barrio. Artists are required to get permission to install or act out their pieces from the city's relevant authorities.

According to its press materials, the festival's mission is to, "Remind us that public spaces function as the epicenter for diverse social interactions and the unfettered exchange of ideas."

But many of the pieces are difficult to find, such as "Tweet Street," in which small magnets bearing twitter messages from New Yorkers sit  on top of metal surfaces along 14th Street.

With "Get Lost!", artist Daniel Bejar has altered signage on crosstown L train platforms to reflect historical place names. (He changed "Downtown & Brooklyn" to read "Downtown & Breuckelen," for example.)

The description for the piece "Empirical Immanence" simply reads, "The project places small, text-based works into the urban environment to be discovered."

The full list of pieces that are part of the Art in Odd Places festival, which runs through Oct. 10, is available on the festival's Web site.

Click below to see pictures of some of the work.

“Commit An Act of Domestic Terrorism” by Lois Weaver & Lori E. Seid sits on 14th Street between Avenue A and 1st Avenue.
Marlon Bishop/WNYC
“Commit An Act of Domestic Terrorism” by Lois Weaver & Lori E. Seid sits on 14th Street between Avenue A and 1st Avenue.

Every morning during the festival, a woman hangs her laundry across 14th Street, while collecting stories from everyday people.

Marlon Bishop/WNYC
"Daily Portage" by Scott Andresen is on the same block as Weaver and Seid's work.

Andresen created a series of quilted works made out of garbage found on the block and hung the works in the windows of bodegas and shops there.

Marlon Bishop/WNYC
"Tree Kisses" by Mary Ivy Martin is on 14th St. between Second and Third Avenues.

The artist each day walks down 14th Street and, after donning a heavy application of lipstick, kisses trees.

Marlon Bishop/WNYC
"Bodhi Tree" by Particia Cazorla is on 14th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.

Cazorla hid a speaker in the tree's branches, which plays Buddhist chants throughout the day.

Marlon Bishop/WNYC
"Pilgrimage" by Laurie LeBreton is in the window display of a framing shop between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.

This piece was inspired by a a cave in Laos, where  pilgrims once placed more than 2,000 Buddha statues.

At a certain point, one begins to wonder: is it art? Or an expired parking meter ticket taped to a pole?
Marlon Bishop/WNYC
At a certain point, one begins to wonder: is it art? Or an expired parking meter ticket taped to a pole?
Between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, doilies are taped to a bus stop.
Marlon Bishop/WNYC
Between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, doilies are taped to a bus stop.
Marlon Bishop/WNYC
"Tweet Street" by Alban Low has been installed along 14th Street.

Low placed 100 magnets made out of tweets from New Yorkers on magnetic surfaces along 14th Street, and invited passersby to pick them up and take them home.

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Comments [1]

Ariadne from New York

To Marissa Mikelberg: A goat is not a work of "art." It is a living, breathing, sentient animal. I hope for the sake of its welfare that it has experience with and become habituated in advance to the movements and sounds of the city, especially 14th Street on a weekend; it could otherwise be quite a stressful experience for him.

Oct. 05 2011 08:51 AM

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