No, they should not.
Do you remember my story last year about the book I published for Nick Hornby and Bruce Springsteen? It had a happy/sad conclusion. After several years of fits and starts, it was finally printed, bound and sold. The end result was very satisfactory little letterpress chapbook and a check for nearly $16,000 for a school for autistic children in London. The sad part was that it annihilated the great friendship between myself and the printer.
Flash to now. We had reconciled via email at the beginning of 2011. This week, he visited New York. It was the first time we’d met face-to-face since the Thunder Road kerfuffle. Miraculously, (or, perhaps, not so miraculously) it’s as if nothing bad ever happened between us. There were no aftershocks. Nothing! We picked up our conversation right where we left off and spent the day yammering like two old hens. What a relief. What a gift!
I put on my tour guide chapeau and we spent the day scouring the museums, art galleries and rare bookstores of Manhattan. I don’t know anyone who has a deeper knowledge or greater passion for printing than this guy. His enthusiasm is infectious. We visited the Morgan Library where there are printing samples ranging from Egyptian stone scrolls through to a Gutenberg bible, a Shakespeare first folio, to handwritten letters by Hemingway where he liberally drops the “F” bomb and concertos penned by Mozart.
We saw the Weegee exhibit at the International Center for Photography and after a walk on the Highline we ducked in and out of a dozen art galleries in Chelsea. I was wondering how I could parlay a day like that into a lucrative career. Here’s a small sampling of what we stumbled across in the art world. [Sorry, iPhone users. You’ll miss out on some terrific film clips.]
This piece of brilliance is BIT.FALL by German artist Julius Popp. A stream of water is released in once second intervals. As that “section” of water falls, a word is projected onto it. The text is generated by a statistical algorithm that randomly pulls words from the current stream of news on the internet. The illusion is that solid words dissolve into nothing.
There’s some deeper meaning about the impermanence of cultural information but, honestly, I don’t care about that stuff. This is simply a very clever, fun piece.
This summer’s outdoor public art exhibit at Madison Square Park is Pet Sounds by California-based artist Charles Long.
The candy-colored sculptures look like great globs of silly putty that drip off rails, tables and benches. They also have a very effective interactive feature.
Each sculpture makes its own, unique, sound. You might have to turn the volume up a bit but I was able to capture the “pet sound” as I caressed it. It also vibrated as I ran my hand down its back. Probably not the most sanitary exhibit I’ve ever seen but if you’re frightened by germs, then this city probably isn’t the place for you, anyway.