Art Blanche: HEARD•NY

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Strange pets, bodily fluids, drugs, nudity, spontaneous serenades: these are all par for the course for commuting New Yorkers (at least according to a quick survey of my facebook friends). On any given day, one is bound to encounter any number of unpredictable scenarios while traveling from point A to point B. Hence, seasoned city-dwellers develop a high tolerance for crazy on the commute, and these things no longer warrant a second glance. But what if I told you that a herd of thirty performers, dressed in colorfully fringed and adorned horse costumes, will be grazing in repose in Grand Central Station and spontaneously burst into dance twice daily for a week? Would that be enough to turn your head, remove your earbuds, or put away your iPad?

HEARD•NY, a weeklong installation/performance by Nick Cave, begins on March 25th in Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal. The Chicago-based artist is well known for his Soundsuits, beautifully crafted costumes that explore how what is worn on the body is translated into the physical act of the dance.

Soundsuits are examples of assemblage, using found objects to create a larger work that represents greater meaning. The garments, which are just as much works of art as the choreographed performances during which they are worn, somehow manage to collapse the boundaries between art and fashion, performance and dance.

By creating the Soundsuits as well as choreographing visually stunning, interactive performances in which the dancers wear the suits and explore the sounds, Cave takes on the role of artist, choreographer, and art director.

For HEARD•NY, beginning next week, Cave will fill Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Station with thirty performers in life-size horse Soundsuits. They will spend their day grazing in the Hall as if it were a lush pasture and not a busy commuter thoroughfare. At 11am and 2pm daily, they will break into choreographed dance accompanied by live music, celebrating the Centennial of Grand Central Station, and creating a fantastical environment for anyone who happens to pass through, whether intentionally or by chance.

I’ve a hunch that this is a spectacle not to be missed, and luckily, you have a full week to catch it. Presented by MTA Arts for Transit and Creative Time, the show begins on March 25 and lasts through the 31st. Could HEARD•NY top the list of the most eccentric thing you’ve seen in NYC transit? Probably not, but it has an excellent chance of changing your daily commute into a whimsical, compelling experience that will be worth the second glance.

I will be attending the performance next week and recapping on Artfully Awear. View my previous Soundsuits post here.

Images from hyperallergic, PBS New Hour, and Faces of Design