Public Art (but no Music)

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006 | All Things, Arts, Friends

Walked to TriBeCa during lunch to purchase crochet supplies for my first class. On the way I passed through the ”Alexander Calder in New York” exhibit in City Hall Park — five large scale “stabiles” (as Calder called his freestanding, nonmoving sculptures), created between 1957 and 1976 and on loan from the Calder Foundation and the Whitney Museum of American Art through March 2007.

Calder Arches

Jerusalem Stabile

The exhibit includes one of Calder’s signature mobiles — not displayed outdoors, but suspended inside the City Hall rotunda. Made a mental note to check that out sometime soon.

Always enjoy seeing public art in random places. Barrelling through the financial district, head down, in your own world, or talking into a cell phone, and then suddenly — bam! — an unignorable, massive, bright red Calder at your feet.

The first of the two Philharmonic in the Parks concerts in Central Park was canceled due to thundershowers that rolled in, blackening the sky late in the afternoon. By concert time, the skies had actually cleared somewhat, but the grounds would have been wet and muddy and not at all pleasant for lawn lounging. Weather permitting, the orchestra performs Beethoven’s Fifth next Tuesday, in keeping with the tradition for mass appeal.

Which recalls to mind the popular “Beethoven’s Wig” series created by Richard Perlmutter. Simple concept: taking classical melodies and writing — or rewriting — lyrics. So The Fifth Symphony would be sung:

Beethoven’s WIG… is very BIG
Beethoven’s wig is long and curly and it’s white
Beethoven takes his wig off when he sleeps at night
Because it’s big
It’s very big
Beethoven’s WIG… is… BIG!

And so on. I remember engaging similar efforts in preparation for those “Name that tune” exams in high school music class, to less witty and commercially-recognized effect. Almost surprising that these discs didn’t hit the market until 2002, considering the glut of Mozart Effect-fueled “classical music for babies/children” collections in the mid to late 1990s.

Witty stuff, though I think that if I were trying to instill an appreciation for classical music in my children, I’d still be more likely just to play them the originals.

Met BH for drinks in the neighborhood. Now that he’s a father of twins and living in New Jersey, his opportunities for socializing are relegated to late night drives into the city after putting the babies to sleep. Over rounds of rapidly melting — and later, rain spattered — frozen margaritas, he waxed nostalgic about his single days as a Manhattanite, and brought up the subject of Internet dating services. I explained that while I could see how it might be a good way to meet a lot of people, I didn’t think that online dating was really my thing, especially after that little dalliance I had with the Nigerian diplomat ended on such a disappointing note. I’m still waiting for my millions.

There's 1 comment so far ... Public Art (but no Music)

July 24, 2006

So witty. I think Cliff, one of the co-owners of Verlaine, is Nigerian.

Go for it ...