Do this: the event of a thread

Every time I’ve tried to explain the experience of Anne Hamilton’s the event of a thread, I’ve pretty much failed miserably. I don’t have the art world cred or the vocab to give it a proper review, so I’ll just tell you why I liked it so darn much.

It was fun.

I don’t always walk out of a museum or gallery and say, “That was fun.” I do think that art is good for you in a lot of ways, and you should experience as much as you can (especially in New York where much of it is free or super cheap). But, sometimes the  experience can be a little strained or intimidating. You’re expected to be quiet as you thoughtfully consider each piece of art. If you’re like me, you’re thinking “Ok, have I looked at this piece for long enough?” And, especially with installation art, I often walk away and wonder “Did I get everything I should have from that experience?”

Anne Hamilton’s installation piece was different, at least for me. It not only invited visitors to be part of the exhibit, but it really required it. The space is The Park Avenue Armory drill floor, a cavernous 55,000 sq foot room. Over 42 large wooden swings hang from the ceiling which has to be at least 100 ft high. Through a complicated series of ropes and pulleys, every swing is connected to a gigantic billowy curtain that hangs from the center of the room. So, as people swing back and forth, the curtain undulates like huge wave. Here’s a shot I took from the drill floor balcony:

the event of a thread
the event of a thread

There are other elements to the exhibit, too. Wireless speakers in brown paper bags are scattered throughout the room, and bells and chimes jingle from the ceiling. At one end of the hall, two men draped in furry cloaks read letters in to a microphone as a cluster of caged pigeons listen.

I am sure that these are important to the piece, but I’m not gonna lie – it was all about the swings. Everyone from small children to teenagers to grandparents to young couples were digging the swings. Because they were of the huge wooden plank variety, two to three people could fit on one without feeling like you were cramming your butt into a piece of playground equipment. These swings were built for everyone.  The hubby and I took turns pushing each other and then spent some time swinging together and watching everyone else act silly and giddy. FUN.

If you’re close to NY, go! It’s showing at the Park Avenue Armory through January 6th. If you’re not close, check out Ann Hamilton’s website for other events and projects.

Question: What’s your most memorable experience with art?

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