Currently at the Andrea Rosen Gallery in Chelsea is The Riverbed by Yoko Ono. The exhibit is comprised of three interactive installations; Mend Piece, Stone Piece and Line Piece. You should always beware when you see the words “interactive” and “installation” used in the same sentence.
Mend Piece is choking to death on metaphors.
It’s about healing and making peace with the damage in the world. A table is strewn with broken cups and saucers. Yoko provides glue, string, tape and other bonding materials.
The idea is to repair the broken pieces. As you perform this, you are instructed to be mindful of the mending that’s needed elsewhere in the universe (not to mention your own tumultuous life). It’s actually a very sweet notion. I found her kind, gentle intent admirable, although a bit too New-Agey for my tastes.
The big surprise is how incredibly creative some people are. Finished pieces are displayed on white shelves along all four walls of the gallery. (Click for detail.)
A caterpillar in a cocoon hanging from a thread
It reminded me of an Andy Warhol or Roy Lichtenstein piece whereby the artist provides the inspiration and materials but relies on other people to execute it. It’s like all of the fat with none of the calories (for the artist).
After mending a cup, you are invited to enjoy a (free) macchiato. It’s served in cups with cracks in them; imperfect but still whole. Just like you and me.
While sipping my macchiato, I heard a loud *POP* a few feet away from me. Someone had taken their macchiato and THREW it against the wall. The cup shattered and the liquid streamed down the wall. I think it was done in the spirit of it being an interactive installation but it wasn’t appreciated.
When the young gallery hottie came running over (ALL Chelsea galleries employ young hotties) I said I thought it was kind of interesting. She snapped, “You wouldn’t think it was so interesting if you had to clean it up.” I said the wrong thing. That happens a lot.
I’m glad I’m not a stone in Stone Piece.
Seat cushions are placed on the floor around the perimeter of a second gallery with smooth stones stacked in front of them.
It’s a meditative exercise. The idea is to hold a stone and transfer all your negative energy into it. I tried to play along but I couldn’t find a boulder large enough to absorb all my fear, angst and self-loathing. Yoko has written on some of the stones. I picked one up, turned it over and it said “Dream.” So I dreamed about having a gigantic, multi-room flat in The Dakota. Dream big or go home.
In Line Piece, we are instructed to “Take me to the farthest place in our planet by extending the line.” Yoko provides string, hammers and nails. People pound nails into the wall and connect string across the room.
The gallery is crisscrossed in a web of string. Traversing the gallery is a bit of a challenge. You have to walk low to the ground.
Pencils are provided and you can draw on the wall but I didn’t see anything as fetching as what was done with the broken china.
The installation evolves over time. You can visit it each week and there’ll be new sculptures, drawings and maybe even a macchiato mess to clean up.
The Opposite of Healing the Universe
I’m assuming that most of you are not blessed wih a local tabloid newspaper. Our hometown tabloids, the New York Post and New York Daily News, are at their finest when screaming a headline. Here’s a fine example from this past week. Enjoy!