Eye’ll Be Seeing You:
Launching your job as curator at a New York City landmark with a commentary on the world financial crisis—delivered on a billboard over the West Side Highway—might seem foolhardy, but Cecilia Alemani carried it off with aplomb. She achieved this by hiring Conceptualist John Baldessari to produce The First $100,000 I Ever Made, an enormous image of a gold certificate featuring the somber visage of Woodrow Wilson.
Standing on the High Line, the two-year-old park built on an abandoned rail line, Alemani watched with delight as crowds interacted with the artwork last December. “They took pictures pretending to hold the big note, making funny faces,” she recounts. “Then they started reading and realized it was actually a real bill, printed in 1934.”
Now Alemani has unveiled her second billboard—a self-portrait by Anne Collier, who re-photographed a picture of her own eye through a tray of developing fluid. The huge, glaring orb, titled Developing Tray #2, reflects the particular situation of the mile-long park, whose 30-foot elevation offers intimate views into offices, Hopperesque tenements, luxury apartments, and, most famously, the Standard Hotel, whose exhibitionistic guests have sometimes made news.
“There’s so much voyeurism here,” Alemani comments.
Read more in my piece in Manhattan magazine.
Photo by High Line Art, Friends of the High Line. Courtesy of the Artist, Anton Kern Gallery, New York, NY; Corvi Mora, London, UK; Marc Foxx, Los Angeles, California”