Human Nature Part II: Nightfall

I walked out of the Laura Pels Theater onto 47th St. It was dark out.

[I had just seen the clunkily titled The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin. Primo character actor David Morse is a white collar criminal home from prison to terrorize his family. A compelling story with some forced dialog and a few strained scenes. Morse, terrifying as always. Do you remember him from The Green Mile and The Hurt Locker?]

I crossed 6th Avenue to Rockefeller Center to see what Ugo Rondinone’s Human Nature looks like at night. It was a satisfying enough work during the day. I thought the inky sky and floodlights might cast some interesting shadows. As I suspected, the work is much more nuanced and spooky in the dark. Isn’t everything?

photo 5(1)  photo 4      photo 2(1)

This guy looks like he’s going shopping at that J. Crew for some overpriced socks.
photo 4(1)
photo 2(2)

The compulsion is to walk up and touch them. I’ve seen people stroke and even hug them.

photo 1

photo 3

The lights spill onto the plaza and give the sculptures more texture and depth.

photo 1(1)

photo 1(2)

A friend sneaks a shot of your humble author hard at work. Waiting for the pedestrians to clear my viewfinder

photo 5

*     *     *

Have any of you had Lasik surgery performed on your eyes? Any regrets? Long-term negative side effects? How horrific an experience was it? The procedure looks like medieval torture but I’m so fed up with wearing glasses that I’m considering it. The operation can’t be any worse than having my forehead cut open for basal cell carcinoma surgery and I survived that. Barely.


14 thoughts on “Human Nature Part II: Nightfall

  1. I used to know chaps (tigers)who could not walk past those sculptures without attempting to scale them, probably in bare feet. Do you have similar rock climbing nuts over there? Sorry Lasik is outside my cognizance.

    • I’m sure if the sides weren’t so vertical or if there were footholds people would try to climb them. I remember seeing the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum and how the edges have been smoothed by decades of people touching it. What is the compulsion to reach out and touch?

  2. All I know about laser eye surgery is that some people haven’t been happy with the results. Maybe complaints are now rarer after years of improvement. If you correct your short-sight, you might still need glasses to read. Has an engineer checked those sculptures to make sure they won’t fall over if someone kicks them?

    • The most painful aspect of laser surgery is that health insurers consider it cosmetic and won’t give you a penny towards it. It’s a 100% out-of-pocket expense. And it ain’t cheap. The sculptures are solid and won’t tip. The big fear was that they were so heavy they would crash through the sidewalk. Rock Center engineers agreed to the exhibit only after a fortified concrete base was poured for them to stand on.

  3. I would have to touch, no idea why, but in galleries where touching is forbidden I have to ram my hands in my pockets. I know several people who have had eye surgery and they are all delighted with the results. None of them complained about the pain, either. I’d have my lenses replaced if I had the money, having to wear reading glasses drives me insane.

    • What is it that makes us want to reach out and touch these things? There’s something primal about it. I always have to resist touching the old, white marble statues in the Met. I’ll bet they’re cold and smooth.Thanks for the tip. Just thinking about the procedure makes my toes curl to the back of my heels. But it might be worth it. God. To see clearly under water would be heaven.

  4. Stone, rope and water, three natural elements that cry out to be caressed and in some cases tasted. Yep, I’ve licked them all at some stage, before you ask.

  5. These are really amazing sculptures. I LOVE seeing them in the night light….You get a real sense of their Humaness. There truly seems to be “life” inside all that stone—And the Artist is really something. To capture what he has….it is Quite incredible! I’m so happy you went back and then shared what you saw with your very beautiful photographs. You truly captured what the Artist created!No help on the Lasik Surgery…Now Cataract Surgery I could rave about.

    • Some of these outdoor summer art exhibits fall kind of flat but this one is the right exhibit in the right venue. It all mushed together seamlessly. Do you get any good meds with cataract surgery? Just curious. With Lasik, all you get is a giant invoice and a boot in the ass out the door.

  6. Kirsty’s eyesight is appalling — I’m very glad the girls haven’t picked it up from her. She has to hold a newspaper an inch away from her face if she’s lost her glasses (again).

    It’s the same here — in most cases it’s not considered essential so we can’t get it on the NHS. From what I remember from her research, modern techniques are nothing to be afraid of and have good results. I know it’s not the same thing, but Melanie had eye surgery a couple of years ago for her squint (which *was* considered essential, and so free) and she said it felt like a massive urge to itch and scratch at it for a couple of days and then it was fine.

    • Operating on my eyes freaks me out. I don’t care how proven and safe it is.

      I wonder if it’s synchronicity that I’m looking to redo my eyes and my blog at the same moment? I didn’t intend it that way.

  7. Regarding Lasik, I have heard that if your eye sight is too bad, you might still have to wear glasses for more correction. Don’t know if this is true or not. I don’t think I could stand them messing with my eye while I’m awake. I think it would freak me out!

    • That’s what I learned after my (two hour!) consultation. After the operation I’d need reading glasses (which I don’t currently need). I’d be trading one problem for another. And they’d charge me $4K for the privilege. NO THANK YOU. I thought that Lasik was a magic bullet that cured all vision problems. It is not.

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