This weekend, an art festival set to take over 14th Street explores notions of politics and agency in urban environments.
The 2016 edition of Art in Odd Places included a monument to Henrietta Lacks, a “Red Line” archive, and roving dialogues on the theme of race.
People who encountered a vending machine dispensing free compliments in the Meatpacking District or a group of women knitting and unraveling white aprons in Union Square over the weekend might have considered them part of New York City’s continually anomalous street life, or felt an odd pang of déjà vu.
A new set of “Black Lives Matter” street signs carrying some provocative messages will appear in New York City in October.
This year, Art in Odd Places (AiOP) considered value, public space, and freedom along 14th Street, from the Avenue C Con Edison station to the High Line, even dipping into the Hudson River.
What could be a better catwalk than 14th Street? Well, probably most places. It’s crowded, noisy, cluttered with retail, and not one of the most attractive streets in Manhattan. Yet in its two week run from October 5 to 15, Art in Odd Places, involving more than 100 artists tackling the theme of “Model” for its eighth edition, transformed it into a place where sudden moments of fashion and style could appear, provided you were in the right place at the right time.
My weekday exploration of Art in Odd Places had required a careful eye for small acts of ritual, the theme of the 2011 edition of the annual art event that takes place along 14th Street and in Union Square. Two Saturdays ago the art was impossible to miss, even if it was still in unexpected places.
Art in Odd Places relies on a lot of serendipity, but when it happens it’s wonderful. The annual art event is bringing small and large acts of ceremony with over 60 artists performing, installing, exhibiting and interacting all along 14th Street from October 1 to 10. Following this year’s theme of Ritual, I set out this week to pace 14th street and the paths of Union Square each day to discover what artistic offerings would unexpectedly appear.