Cloud Gate

I’m in Chicago on an extended layover between trains coming back from my trip out west. I spent the day wandering around Chicago, and one the sites on my must see list was Cloud Gate, known more informally as The Bean. This piece of art is lovely to look at, but it is just plain fun to photograph. Everyone there takes selfies of themselves, but really the way it reflects with so many different angles, it is just as fun to photograph everything else.

Cloud Gate (aka The Bean)

Cloud Gate (aka The Bean)

Cloud Gate (aka The Bean)

Cloud Gate (aka The Bean)

Cloud Gate (aka The Bean)

Under Cloud Gate (aka The Bean)

Under Cloud Gate (aka The Bean)

NYC’s Lexington Avenue–63rd Street station

I took a tour with the New York Transit Museum of the artwork in the new Q-train stations. The artwork are all mosaics, but they are they are not all the same type of mosaic. This is the fourth of four blog entries to show some of the amazing mosaics.

The Lexington Avenue–63rd Street station is an expansion of an old station. The new area features mosaics by Jean Shin entitled “Elevated.” The mosaics are based on archival photos of the area. Some of the mosaics show people with a blue sky in the shape of the elevated train tracks that were removed decades ago to show how the sky opened up when the elevated was removed. At one of the entrances to the subway, the mosaic portrays the old elevated with all its steel beams and piers.

Elevated by Jean Shin

Elevated by Jean Shin

Elevated by Jean Shin

Elevated by Jean Shin

NYC’s 72nd Street station

I took a tour with the New York Transit Museum of the artwork in the new Q-train stations. The artwork are all mosaics, but they are they are not all the same type of mosaic. This is the third of four blog entries to show some of the amazing mosaics.

The 72nd Street station has a set of 36 mosaics by Vik Muinz titled “Perfect Strangers.” The people represent people that might be found at the station. They are delightful, wonderful, beautiful, and amazingly detailed. I think my favorite one, although I admit I haven’t seen them all, is one that is sort of hidden. The mosaic (photo below) of a workman on a ladder is hidden away by a set of elevators before passing the fare gates. It is sort of a hidden treat to see if you find it.

Perfect Strangers by Vik Muniz

Perfect Strangers by Vik Muniz

Perfect Strangers by Vik Muniz

Perfect Strangers by Vik Muniz

Perfect Strangers by Vik Muniz

Perfect Strangers by Vik Muniz

Perfect Strangers by Vik Muniz

NYC’s 86th Street station

I took a tour with the New York Transit Museum of the artwork in the new Q-train stations. The artwork are all mosaics, but they are they are not all the same type of mosaic. This is the second of four blog entries to show some of the amazing mosaics.

The 86th Street station has mosaics by Chuck Close titled “Subway Portraits.” There are twelve mosaics in different mosaics styles. Several mosaics are glass, and others are different types of clay tiles. While all the mosaics are lovely, there are some that are made with so many different pieces, I was awestruck by how much time it must have taken to put then together. There are two self portraits of Chuck Close, and the one in glass has slivers that must have required tweezers or some other type of tool to carefully put the pieces in.

“Subway Portraits” by Chuck Close: Kara Walker’s portrait

“Subway Portraits” by Chuck Close: up close view of Kara Walker’s portrait

“Subway Portraits” by Chuck Close: Philip Glass’s portrait

“Subway Portraits” by Chuck Close: self portrait

“Subway Portraits” by Chuck Close: self portrait, up close view

“Subway Portraits” by Chuck Close: self portrait, up close view

“Subway Portraits” by Chuck Close: self portrait

“Subway Portraits” by Chuck Close: self portrait, up close view

NYC’s 96th St Station

I took a tour with the New York Transit Museum of the artwork in the new Q-train stations. The artwork are all mosaics, but they are they are not all the same type of mosaic. This is the first of four blog entries to show some of the amazing mosaics.

The 96th Street station is essentially one big mosaic by Sarah Sze titled “Blueprint for a Landscape”. The art is supposed to portray the movement in the station, especially the air movement as trains come in and out. The piece consists of porcelain tile.

Blueprint for a Landscape by Sarah Sze

Blueprint for a Landscape by Sarah Sze

Blueprint for a Landscape by Sarah Sze

Blueprint for a Landscape by Sarah Sze

Blueprint for a Landscape by Sarah Sze

Hive DC

Every year during the summer, the National Building Museum has a summer block party. They have had the Big Maze, the Beach, and last year Icebergs. This year is Hive DC. They used nearly 3,000 wound paper tubes that are normally used for pouring concrete in construction. Unlike at any construction site I have ever seen, these tubes were painted metallic silver on the outside and hot pink on the inside. The tubes were stacked and notched to allow interlocking. In a few places at least, it was evident they needed some reinforcement with screws and nuts and some tension wires for the highest hive. There is a xylophone in a small hive which appears to be made almost exclusively with construction material like tubing, canisters, and pipes. If nothing else, Hive is fantastic to photograph. There were so many cool angles, lines, and perspectives that were just plain fun to photograph.

Hive DC

Second largest hive

Largest hive

Largest hive

Largest hive

Hive DC

Hive DC

Hive DC

Xylophone

Hive DC

Hive DC

Largest hive

Hive DC

Hive DC

Hive DC

Hive DC

Hive DC

Rain: Madgalena Fernández at the Houston Cistern

After touring the Houston Cistern, we took another tour of it with an art installation completely encompassing it. Rain: Madgalena Fernández at the Houston Cistern is a video  installation with the video projected from all sides onto and into the cistern while sound plays. I don’t think I can fully explain it other than to say it is really, really cool, and you can read more about it here. The sound sounds likes rain, but it is completely human made sound. The video starts off looking a little like rain falling then becomes something that looks like how Hollywood loves to portray cyberspace. It is incredibly neat to watch, and I love the way takes over the space. img_1013 img_1020 img_1026 img_1030 img_1033 img_1038 img_1040 img_1050 img_1064 img_1073 img_1088

Icebergs DC

In what is now an annual tradition, the National Building Museum creates a fun, exhibit or installation in which children and adults can play. Last year it was The Beach, and the year before it was The Big Maze. This year, it is Icebergs. The museum’s great hall is filled with structures resembling icebergs, and blue mesh surrounds them to denote the water. The “water line” is about two stories high with the tops of many icebergs popping above it, like real icebergs. The exhibit is complete with an underwater bridge between two icebergs, which leads to two slides. White bean bags are scattered about, so you can sit down and relax.

Under the water

Under the water

Gorgeous giant iceberg

Gorgeous giant iceberg

Outside the exhibit, looking through the blue mesh

Outside the exhibit, looking through the blue mesh

Ice shoots

Ice shoots

On observation pier looking down to water

On observation pier looking down to water

On observation pier looking down to water

On observation pier looking down to water

Under the water

Under the water

Rainbow Wonder

There is an exhibit at the Renwick Gallery called Wonder that will be leaving soon. It is amazing. One of the pieces in the exhibit is Gabriel Dawe’s Plexus A1. It took my breath away. I just stood there staring at it wondering how to photograph it properly. Then I photographed it from every angle and every zoom and every focal point I could think of, and I still could not capture the beauty and, well, wonder of it. Below are a few photographs of mine just trying to capture it. I want to go back and stare it some more. It is just thread, yet it is so much more.IMG_8517 IMG_8522 IMG_8526 IMG_8528 IMG_8538 IMG_8542 IMG_8546 IMG_8554 IMG_8637 IMG_8643 IMG_8645 IMG_8662 IMG_8668IMG_8666

Re-Ball

Dupont Underground is an abandoned trolley station underneath Dupont Circle that recently had a design competition to reuse a whole lot of plastic balls from National Building Museum’s The Beach. The winning entry was Raise/Raze, which formed the balls into 3 x 3 cubes that were used to build columns and walls in a portion of Dupont Underground. The structures built by the balls were rather interesting, especially when considering they were built with spheres. I also rather liked the way the cube blocks mimicked the tiles on the outer wall of the underground. IMG_6606 IMG_6612 IMG_6626 IMG_6629 IMG_6634 IMG_6638 IMG_6642 IMG_6644 IMG_6648 IMG_6653 IMG_6655 IMG_6659 IMG_6669 IMG_6672 IMG_6675 IMG_6678