Tom Moody - Miscellaneous

Tom Moody - Miscellaneous Posts

These posts are either "jump pages" for my weblog or posts-in-process that will eventually appear there. For what it's worth, here's an archive of these random bits. The picture to the left is by a famous comic book artist.

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Port Authority Shuts Art Exhibit in Aftermath of Rowdy Party

Published: October 7, 2004

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has shut down an art exhibition in Terminal 5 of Kennedy Airport after a raucous opening-night party on Friday that left broken glass on the floor, graffiti on the walls and further destruction in its wake, the agency said yesterday.

Pasquale DiFulco, a spokesman for the Port Authority, which operates the airport, said the curator of the show, Rachel K. Ward, had "failed to control the unlawful behavior of her guests" at the event. "We pulled the permit because the curator violated her agreement," he said.

Besides smoking in the building and defacing the walls with graffiti, some guests broke a door leading to a runway, Mr. DiFulco said. Liquor was being sold at the party without a permit, he added, and Ms. Ward failed to maintain the space to "an acceptable level of cleanliness." Vomit and broken glass were on the terminal's floor, he said.

Ms. Ward, who acknowledged that the crowd had exceeded her expectations - hundreds of people showed up - said she ended the party around 11 p.m., an hour earlier than planned.

"We have not had an opportunity to respond to these allegations," Ms. Ward said of the authority's decision to close the show. "My lawyers are in negotiations. We want to keep the exhibition open as originally planned."

The show, an exhibition of contemporary installations, by nearly 20 artists, on the theme of airports and modern travel, was to have run through Jan. 31. Terminal 5, Eero Saarinen's 1962 landmark building, was home to T.W.A. until it was closed as a passenger terminal in 2001. It has mostly been vacant since, although Steven Spielberg used it in scenes for his movie "Catch Me If You Can."

"I've been working on this for a year and am looking for a resolution," said Ms. Ward, 27. "The point is to give the public access to this landmark."

The terminal closed the show at noon on Tuesday. Ms. Ward said she sent a letter to the Port Authority indicating her willingness to work on any suggested changes to enable the show to continue.

But the agency seemed unlikely to reverse its decision. "The permit was pulled, and that's where we stand," Mr. DiFulco said.

JetBlue, which together with the Port Authority is planning to build a terminal behind Terminal 5 that will be linked to the Saarinen building, was one of the show's biggest sponsors, donating more than $100,000.

"Everyone at JetBlue is crushed, although we support the Port Authority's decision," said Gareth Edmondson-Jones, a spokesman for the airline. "We've been working for months to make this a special event for New Yorkers which has now been spoiled because of a curator's poor management and lack of respect for the Saarinen building.

"It was a chance to showcase art in a landmark terminal which had been closed for the last three years."

The exhibition was meant to respond to the building's biomorphic design and original purpose. L.E.D. text messages by Jenny Holzer were installed on the arrivals-and-departures board. The Japanese sound artist Ryoji Ikeda used a tunneled walkway as a sound-and-light installation.

Some works played off the items one would find in an airport. The sculptor Tom Sachs created a McDonald's sign made of foam core with Japanese characters. Another sculptor, Toland Grinnell, exhibited two of his ostentatiously customized trunks near one of the terminal's baggage claims. A photograph by Richard Prince based on the Marlboro Man ad was displayed next to a real ad for the cigarette.

Even before the exhibition was installed there was trouble. The Italian artist Vanessa Beecroft was to have exhibited photographs and a video of a performance held in the terminal for a private audience. Her work, "VB54," featured 36 young women standing in formation in the sunken waiting area, wearing only Afro wigs, black body paint and silver shackles on their ankles.

After the work was previewed at a private reception on Sept. 28, officials at JetBlue asked that "VB54" be removed from the show. They said that Ms. Ward had violated an agreement to let the airline review all artwork before the exhibition opened.

"It was clearly a publicity ploy," said Mr. Edmondson-Jones. "They wanted it to seem like we were censoring the art when that wasn't the case at all. It had nothing to do with the content. They hadn't followed their own rules."

Asked about the dispute, Ms. Ward said she could not comment.

Roberta Smith contributed reporting for this article.

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- tom moody 10-07-2004 11:21 pm [link] [add a comment]