New Year's Day, our national liminal pause between what was and what will be, was the perfect day for my family to immerse in the transportive experience created by Ann Hamilton's The Event of a Thread installation at the Park Avenue Armory in New York.
White sheets made to billow by Lily Tomlinesque oversized swings transformed the basketball court-like drill hall into a whimsical agnostic cathedral. I took the video below while lying on my back beneath the sheets.
Here's an excerpt from Roberta Smith's review in the New York Times. "Anyone who liked swings as a child — and that should include quite a few of us — will probably feel a surprisingly visceral attraction toAnn Hamilton’s installation “the event of a thread” at the Park Avenue Armory.The work is the latest from one of the more self-effacing orchestrators of installation-performance art, and her first new piece in New York in more than a decade. It centers on an immense, diaphanous white curtain strung across the center of the armory’s 55,000-square-foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall. Dispersed on either side are 42 large wood-plank swings, suspended from the hall’s elaborately trussed ceiling beams by heavy chains that are also tied to the rope-and-pulley system that holds up the curtain.
The swings are there for us, to swing on. “The people formerly known as the audience,” in the memorable wordsof the media critic Jay Rosen, form a crucial ingredient of the work as never before in Ms. Hamilton’s art. The piece has other components, about which more in a minute, but if people are not using the swings, “the event of a thread” does not fully exist. When they are in action, the curtain, made of a lightweight silk twill, rises and dips, and the air is stirred, causing further billowing and fluttering."