Alan Mickelson, a Mohawk artist, explores long-overlooked aspects of American history and the exploitation of local landscapes. His new multimedia installation on MoMA PS1 combines modern media with local songs. Opens every five years today as a key element of the New York area’s “Big New York” artist survey.
Times Patricia Lee Brown spoke to Michaelson and wrote:
Michaelson parked the remains of Queen of Industry, a dump truck, and a squid truck to reach New York Creek, a heavily polluted and superfound waterway in New York that was once full of oyster beds. Parking lot, remnants of Everest, rubble scraped by a construction crane.
For centuries, this estuary between Brooklyn and Queens was home to the Lenape people. Michaelson suggested that the livelihood they received from promoting land-water connections could provide a pattern for dealing with current problems.
The work “Midden” refers to the monumental mound of oyster shells that existed when the Dutch colonizers became “New York,” Michaelson said. Oysters have long been an integral part of regional cuisine, long before bagels, hot pretzels and pizza.
[Oyster Shoreline in the New York area has a pearl message]
Shell Mound projects images of the two apocalypse rivers New Town Creek and the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn onto a three-tonne oyster shell modeled on a beach. The shells come from the Billion Oyster Project, a nonprofit that works with Michaelson to save a billion live oysters in New York Harbor by 2035, using shellfish from a local restaurant. It’s busy.
Michaelson is not considered an “environmental artist”. However, he has long been obsessed with colonialism’s destruction and transformation of indigenous peoples, proclaiming “from the smallest plant to the world’s largest alien”. He says his work is tied to the natural sense of movement of the original narrative.
“Allen’s work has poetic candor,” said PS1 curator Luba Katrib. “This is very precise, but opens all these questions.”
I was home for the Thanksgiving holiday and was meeting a friend in New York. I’m planning on doing a Broadway musical. I couldn’t, so I decided to go to the show myself.
Before the TKTS stand era, I was sometimes lucky enough to get a box office income.
I went to the Schubert Theater and it was done. Apple Tree was playing, and Phyllis Newman was controlling the matinee.
Newman used to listen to the album Subways Are for Sleepings and was looking forward to seeing it live.
Then, as I was walking down 44th Avenue on my way to the theatre, I saw I was standing behind a tall, protruding man in a camel hair coat. He carried a large bouquet of roses and turned into Cheber Alley near the Astar Hotel as I made my way to the theater entrance.