Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Revelation!

I mentioned last week that the New School for General Studies was celebrating the ninetieth anniversary of the founding of The New School with a talk, to which I was looking forward, and an exhibit, whose poster I didn't like. Well, the talk turned out to be a dud. But the exhibit - it's a revelation! The artists' group Parts and Labor (3 alumni) placed their mobile gallery - a converted truck with transparent siding - in front of the entrance of the university, and filled it with wonders they found in the university's neglected archives. I knew about the project as they were working on it and couldn't imagine its working but now I'm a believer! The clear walls convey the school's distinctive place in the midst of the city. The truck is also the site of events, from classes to some séances, but it brings what's usually indoors into conversation with the bustle of outdoors all by itself. The old catalogs displayed inside the doors conjure up 90 years of relevance. The creative disarray inside suggests at once an embarrassment of riches and a neglected
inheritance. And the loops of old microfilms, evoking both books and the movement of film - wow! Transparent like the gallery, they also echo and give new meaning to the school's black & white modernist façade. The project's purpose is to share delight in the university's past and generate conversation about its future.
It's a triumph! It's up through Friday - check it out if you have a chance!

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