A dad and his daughters, loving life in New York City

Tuesday, April 3

Open City: Tools for Public Action at Eyebeam

I finally made it over to Eyebeam on Saturday for Open City, a lively, clever, funny (although often familiar) and engaging (if slightly amateurish) exhibition of the "current media and tactics" of various street art practitioners, including taggers and pranksters, guerrilla sculptors and performers. Overall, Debbie and I liked the show a lot (some "booths" more than others, to be sure), though we wished the video installations had been better handled. Only Improv Everywhere broke out the flat screen, to excellent effect, while everyone else was left with too huge, poorly lit wall projections. Either way, there's lots of interesting ideas and techniques on hand. Here's a quick look at a few highlights...

Those geniuses over at the Graffiti Research Lab have several works up, including a video of the Night Writer (in a much more clear format here than you'll see at the show), Laser Tag (this is amazing: watch it here), and their brilliant LED Throwies, set beautifully to music here.

Aram Bartholl has a few projects on display, such as this one, for which he placed a "life-size" Google Maps marker balloon in the courtyard of a building complex...

I liked this quite a bit, from a group of Detroit artists called Object Orange, who are seeking to call attention to that area's housing problem by painting dozens of dilapidated buildings in "Tiggerific Orange."

This graffiti-writing robot—programmed to spell out specific words and phrases, releasing shots of spray to form the letters in the manner of a team of skywriters—was pretty awesome, courtesy of the Institute of Applied Autonomy...

Borf contributed a stencil...

Charlie Todd's Improv Everywhere "booth" focused on just a few of his pranks, including the time they pretended to be U2 and played on a rooftop across the street from Madison Square Garden, where the real U2 was playing that night... or their annual No Pants Subway ride (below)....

Or their Best Buy ruse, when 80 agents infiltrated the store on 23rd Street in full employee regalia and stood around as if they worked there... Hey, wait a minute... what's that picture in the middle there, on the lower left-hand row....???

Holy smokes it's those crazy pranksters Scoboco! Now hanging in a Chelsea gallery!

Open City will be at Eyebeam, on 540 West 21st Street, through this Saturday April 7, only.

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