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Designs for the new park in Vauxhall by Erect Architecture with J&L Gibbons

London’s answer to New York’s High Line park began to take shape in June after two London architecture firms won a competition to design a landscaped walkway just south of the River Thames that will link new and existing galleries, public works of art and an open-air auditorium. Erect Architecture and the landscape architects J & L Gibbons beat 100 entries from 21 countries to design the promenade, which will stretch from the Garden Museum next to Lambeth Palace (the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury) to the site of the former 17th-19th century pleasure gardens in Vauxhall.

“The idea is to connect the gallery district that is emerging in Vauxhall in a green and interesting way,” says Chris Law, one of the directors of Vauxhall One, a group of local businesses that launched the competition in conjunction with the Royal Institute of British Architects. The area currently boasts the contemporary art spaces Gasworks and Beaconsfield, and a new gallery called Cabinet is due to be built this summer. Damien Hirst’s gallery also opens on Newport Street next year. There are further plans to use the abandoned railway arches next to Vauxhall station as exhibition spaces.


Anny Shaw
The Art Newspaper


John Cage, One11 and 103, 1992 (Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix)

A screening of John Cage’s One11 and 103, 1992, opened without much fanfare on Thursday on the High Line, the elevated park along Manhattan’s West Side. Installed to celebrated what would be the composer and artist’s 100th birthday, the piece itself is a contemplative melding of sound and light, but its installation in a dim passageway detracts from the experience of viewing the work.
On the hot, late afternoon of the opening, the High Line was teeming with visitors, lounging on the wooden benches or strolling down the former elevated railway, enjoying the riverside views. After tearing ourselves away from the inviting refuge of wildflowers, it took a few minutes to actually locate Cage’s work. The piece is installed in the High Line’s 14th Street Passage, a corridor still under construction that cuts through the surrounding buildings. A screen is hung between two concrete pillars, on which Cage’s film, One11, is being shown while his composition 103 serves as the soundtrack.

Very few passersby seemed to realise they were walking by an art work (one visitor in fact was found napping on a nearby table) perhaps because for much of the film, the screen is blank or lit by simple, white shapes that could look like falling sunlight. Cage decribed One11 as “a film without subject. There is light but no persons, no things, no ideas about repetition and variation. It is meaningless activity which is nonetheless communicative, like light itself, escaping our attention as communication because it has no content to restrict its transforming and informing power.” Sometimes you can pick out snatches of notes or tones from the composition, but it is often difficult to hear the subtle music clearly over the low din of Chelsea traffic.


Helen Stoilas
The Art Newspaper

(Photo: Sally Ryan for the New York Times)

Phone calls and visitors and, yes, dreams from around the world are pouring into the small offices of the Friends of the High Line on West 20th Street in Manhattan these days.

Detroit is thinking big about an abandoned train station. Jersey City and Philadelphia have defunct railroad beds, and Chicago has old train tracks that don’t look like much now, but maybe they too…

The High Line’s success as an elevated park, its improbable evolution from old trestle into glittering urban amenity, has motivated a whole host of public officials and city planners to consider or revisit efforts to convert relics from their own industrial pasts into potential economic engines.


Kate Taylor
New York Times

Curator Lauren Ross with Valerie Hegarty’s Autumn on the Hudson Valley with Branches, 2009

If exhibition attendance were the sole measure of curatorial clout, Lauren Ross, 39, would rank almost as high as the chief curator of MoMA in the New York art world—and she doesn’t even work for a museum.

Her curatorial domain is the High Line, the elevated park that courses through New York’s meatpacking district from Chelsea to the West Village. Since section one (Gansevoort Street to 20th Street) opened in June 2009, it has attracted around two million visitors; if that pace continues, it could near MoMA’s 2008-09 total of 2.8 million. Although many visit for the greenery and the view, the park’s contemporary art installations are increasingly stealing the limelight.


Judith H. Dobrzynski
The Art Newspaper

(Photo: Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York)

Last year, Artnet Magazine’s Charlie Finch predicted that the High Line would lead to rising rents, sounding the death knell for the Chelsea gallery scene. While this has not yet happened, the well-liked aerial greenway is arguably having an antiseptic effect on the arts neighborhood, with Exhibit A being the recent destruction of a storied graffiti mural on West 23rd Street, in keeping with a city program to spiff up the buildings around the successful park. The prominent “REVS/COST” mural, featuring the names of the two graffiti artists in enormous white letters, was removed with chemicals over the weekend, according to the Vanishing New York blog (which has photos).

While the giant white letters may not have much significance to those who are not graffiti fans, they hold an important place in the history of New York street art, arising out of the retrenching of that scene after mayor Rudolf Giuliani’s crackdown in the early ‘90s. The exploits of Revs have been featured on This American Life, and profiled in the New York Times, with Randy Kennedy saying in 2005 that his work “upended many traditional notions of graffiti and helped inspire a new generation of so-called street artists.”



“Autumn on the Hudson River”, by Jasper Francis Cropsey (National Gallery of Art)

How would you go about updating, reinterpreting, a Hudson River School painting? We’ll soon see one answer, from artist Valerie Hegarty.

On Wednesday, Hegarty will install a site-specific work on the High Line, the elevated park built on a disused rail corridor along the Hudson River, which is turning out to have a snug connection with contemporary art even before the Whitney Museum branch is built there (if it is)…

This installation…references a painting by Jasper Francis Cropsey, Autumn on the Hudson River, 1860…For the Cropsey, the High Line says, she “imagines a nineteenth century Hudson River School landscape painting that has been left outdoors, exposed to the elements.”


Judith H. Dobrzynski
Real Clear Arts