Those About to Die Salute You, a battle on water wielded with baguette swords and watermelon cannon balls by New Yorks art dignitaries, will take place on Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 6 pm in a flooded Worlds Fair-era reflecting pool in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, just outside of the Queens Museum of Art
. Various types of vessels have been designed and constructed by artist provocateur Duke Riley and his collaborators: the galleons, some made of reeds harvested in the park, will be used to stage a citywide battle of the art museums in which representatives from the Queens Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, Bronx Museum of the Arts, and El Museo del Barrio will battle before a toga-clad crowd of frenzied onlookers. The event is free and open to public. Dress code: Toga. Live music by Hell-Bent Hooker. Beverages will be served.
Duke Riley has always been interested in the space where water meets land within the urban landscape and is known for art work that is an idiosyncratic mix of performance art, sailors craft and historical re-enactment. Upon QMAs invitation for an artist residency, Rileys life-long fascination with the culture and topography of waterfronts, and proclivity for margins - of society, history, etc. - were immediately focused on the decommissioned Worlds Fair Ice Rink adjacent to the museum. The sight of the vast oval arena, a sea of refrigeration tubing and white sand, brought an instant association with ancient Roman coliseums that were flooded to stage violent naval battles or Naumachia for the delight of spectators in the Empires effort to distract the masses from societal collapse by indulging them with free bread and extravagant spectacle.