The Tale of the Urban Nautical Adventure

14 08 2009

Alas, I wasn’t able to witness the bizarre yet fascinating extravaganza that took place last night at the Queens Museum of Art. But the picture in my mind is enough to hold my amusement: grown men and women in togas (representing the Queens Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and El Museo del Barrio) pelting each other with watermelon cannon balls and fighting with baguette sword.

Those About to Die Salute You, brainchild of the controversial (and sea-obsessed) artist Duke Riley, took place in  the World’s Fair-era reflecting pool in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, just outside of the Queens Museum of Art. Prior to the battle, Riley and friends have spent months in what was once the World’s Fair ice skating rink (now a room in the Queens Museum) building the vessels that took sail last night. And a motley crew of ships it was: 30-foot-long Spanish galleons, Egyptian river boats, and Polynesian war canoes, to name a few, most built of salvaged materials.

“Why?” one might ask, but the answer to that question is simply another question: “Why not?” In times of economic downturn, it’s exactly this type of silliness we need, and Riley found his inspiration for the show in the Roman era  naumachia, a type of bloody sea battle meant to amuse the hungry masses. (For more background, check out this interesting article). I find the whole thing hilarious and fascinating, and am sorry I missed it. At least I can looke at the pictures.

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3 responses

14 08 2009
Inspiration for Artists

Yes, bizarre and amusing indeed! 🙂

15 08 2009
Jason Geller

It was a great event; I dare the other high-brow museums to stage something better. Feel free to share some of my images:
http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=149894978168&h=xWsXi&u=iZVvb&ref=nf

17 08 2009
Suzanne Russo

Thanks Jason. Great shots!

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