For 5 years, Cheryl McGinnis Projects has curated the iconic art space in the Prow of the historic Flatiron Building. The space has become a beacon of art for the neighborhood. Here are some of the highlights of the last 5 years.
When asked to create a holiday window for Sprint and Cheddar, immediately I thought of artist Hu Bing who had graced the space a few years ago with “Shattered Debris, Sheer Transformation.” In this new exhibit, Hu Bing highlights both the warmth of the season and its wastefulness.
In “Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String” Hu Bing uses discarded wine and water bottles to create a smoldering, crackling environment that challenges the notions of debris, empty and filled, and where we find beauty.
We converse with AI. We clone sheep. We can replace our bones, our ears, eyes and organs. Meat isn’t just raised. It’s 3D printed. Life isn’t just lived. It’s rebuilt and rendered. Feelings aren’t only experienced, but can be prescribed and ingested. Daily life has been replicated into a copy of what nature began. And though it’s caused problems. It propells our species forward. Replication is in our DNA. And our ability to mimic the reality around us will ultimately ensure our survival.
By transforming The Prow into an ‘aquarium’ with a synthetic school of fish it becomes a fitting place to showcase this idea. We remind an audience at the heart of one of the largest manmade environments on earth that the world is no longer just nature itself, it is shared by the nature of man as well.
Each piece demonstrates the
idea of the natural transforming into the synthetic. The body is carved from solid wood and the fins are composed from CNC milled steel and tinted cut glass.v
Hu Bing continues her ongoing project combining previous works with new pieces created exclusively for the shape, changing light and multi-faceted perspectives offered by this distinctive transparent space. Constructing precarious domestic environments from found objects, resin, latex, lights, and her unique expressionistic process of shattering and re-forming glass, Hu Bing literally breaks the medium as a metaphor for breaking with the violence and constraints she experienced under Mao’s Cultural Revolution, and subsequently her shock at the smashing of cars seen from her Brooklyn window when she first moved to Williamsburg in 1989.
Lin Yan’s site-specific installation in the glass-enclosed Prow Art Space explores the idea of stillness, especially in winter. Gently shifting with the air, serene layers of suspended translucent Xuan and Pi hand-made papers inhale and exhale light, surrounded by the frenzied flurry of urban life and architecture outside. Powerful, earthy charcoal drawings on torn and crumpled handmade papers organically collaged contrast the strength and fragility of existence. The space she finds between movement and stillness is analogous to the space we find as human beings between our often intense lives of movement, upper mobility, stress, and our very private moments of reflection.
Cheryl McGinnis Projects curator of the Sprint Flatiron Prow Art Space presents artist Chelsea Hrynick Browne’s site-specific hand-cut origami shapes. Like flakes, the work possess both a movement and stillness. Like real snowflakes, they can be experienced individually like a dusting of snow or for their all encompassing swirling momentum like recent storm Jonas. Ironically, Jonas coincided with the opening of “Flakes.”