Ann Hamilton’s Event of a Thread was New York City’s other most important spectacle to kick off 2013. The month-long exhibit that opened on December 6th brought together visitors like its midtown counterpart—the Times Square Ball. Except the Park Avenue Armory was much more interactive, and didn’t confine bodies behind police barricades. Hamilton erected a matrix of ropes with swings attached to them. As people swayed back and forth, it would move a ginormous white blanket that billowed in synchronization. To watch it took your mind and body to another place. You were able to wander for that moment gazing into its hypnotic motion. It was the closest thing to staring at a cloud indoors. Elsewhere in the space, a woman read philosophical messages sitting in front of a table of homing pigeons (not NYC’s rats with wings) that were released every day at the end of the exhibit. A man at the opposite side of the Armory faced the Tiffany Clock writing journal entries with pen and paper. The climax came when the lights dimmed, the reading and writing paused, and a singer serenaded the Armory. That very song was recorded onto a vinyl record. It was unlike anything that you’d probably ever see in its purest form: writing by hand, reading from printed materials, and a voice cut into an analog medium. I savored this moment with my lady and my son.
Visual artist Ann Hamilton combines the ephemeral presence of time with the material tactility for which she is best known to create a new large-scale installation for the Wade Thompson Drill Hall. Commissioned by the Armory, the event of a thread references the building’s architecture, as well as the individual encounters and congregational gatherings that have animated its rich social history. A multisensory affair, the work draws together readings, sound, and live events within a field of swings that together invite visitors to connect to the action of each other and the work itself, illuminating the experience of the singular and collective body, the relationship between the animal and the human.
Click the link below for photos from Ann Hamilton’s Event of a Thread.