New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Description: Ada Bobonis' site-specific installation entitled Stages, Mountains, Water transforms the Museum's second floor gallery space into an invigorating chromatic environment evoking the Caribbean landscape. Geometric compositions in hues of blue and green are either painted on the wall or adhered to the glass railing facade in the form of translucent color film. Alluding to horizons and vistas, expansive bodies of land and water, the work takes its inspiration from the Panama Canal, one of the icons of 19th century aspirations for the New World.
The construction of the Panama Canal (1880 - 1914) was a historical triumph of international ambition at the turn of the century. Upon completion, the 51-mile-long ship canal connected the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean by cutting across the Isthmus of Panama, and has since become a key conduit for global maritime trade. The area's topography is characterized by vast mountain vistas, the Gatun Lake, and the presence of the Panama Canal Locks (long vertical barriers of different sizes controlling the passage of over-sized ships), and is a spectacular fusion of the natural world and man's interventions upon it.
Stages, Mountains, Water deftly renders the peculiar landscape of the Panama Canal in a minimal composition of color and shapes. While the color-treated glass railing facade creates an evocative aquatic effect, the "cloud of blades" overhead ? clustered sculptural cutouts spanning the gallery's ceiling - symbolizes man's forceful intercession in the natural landscape that profoundly altered the location. The installation further brings the view of Flushing Meadows Corona Park and the Unisphere, a 140-foot-high steel representation of Earth built as an emblem for the 1964 World's Fair, into the gallery space itself. Separated by exactly half a century, the Panama Canal and the Unisphere - both products of the state-of-the-art engineering of their time - echo each other with the timeless human aspiration for exploration they embody, whether by taming the power of the oceans or spanning the infinite reaches of outer space.
Venue Description: The Queens Museum of Art, located in the New York City Building in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, strives to present the highest quality visual arts and educational programming for those in the metropolitan area. Given its location, the museum makes concerted efforts to directly relate its programming to the surrounding contemporary urban life. This landmark remains a true piece of New York, as it is the only remaining building from the World's Fair. Shortly after its initial use, it became the recreation center for Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and is still used in conjunction with the park today. Since its inception in 1939 for the New York World's Fair, the New York City Building has housed great works of art.
The Queens Museum of Art has an assortment of pieces including Tiffany lamps, windows, glass, and other items dating back to the early 20th century. Another popular long-term exhibit is the Panorama, originally built to celebrate the city's municipal infrastructure by simulating every building constructed in all five boroughs. Given the pace at which the city's skyline expands, work-intensive improvements have been made throughout the years to maintain the accuracy of the exhibit.
Educational programs for grades pre-K-12 and adults and seniors are offered throughout the year, including multi-session visits by a teaching artist or architect. Family programs and free drop-in art workshops are also available.
The Queens Museum of Art is in Flushing Meadow-Corona Park in Queens. The museum's hours are Wednesday-Sunday 12-6pm. Hour-long tours of the Panorama are offered every weekend and are free with admission. Private tours are also available. All areas of the gallery are wheelchair-accessible. For information on ticketing, parking, hours, and exhibits, call 718-592-9700 or visit queensmuseum.org. Admission is by suggested donation; $5 for adults, seniors and children $2.50.
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