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Park Avenue Armory presents Ann Hamilton's first installation in New York in over a decade
wo men read at a table with caged homing pigeons in artist Ann Hamilton's "the event of a thread" large-scale multimedia installation at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. The installation incorporates readings, sound, 42 swings and other live elements including 42 homing pigeons and a large billowing cloth. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA.
NEW YORK, NY.- Park Avenue Armory has commissioned artist Ann Hamilton to create a new installation, her first large-scale project in New York City in more than ten years. On view from December 7, 2012, through January 6, 2013, the event of a thread weaves together Hamilton’s exploration of time-based performance, the act of public speaking, and the poetic accumulation of material for which she is best known. Responding to the architecture and social history of the Armory, the participatory installation features a field of swings, suspended like pendulums from the drill hall trusses, and incorporate readings, sound, and other live elements that animate the 55,000-square-foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall.

The event of a thread draws inspiration from the act of reading aloud and its relation to the varied experiences of speaking, listening, and recording. Over the duration of the exhibition, a succession of attendant readers, two at a time, read aloud while seated at a table near the drill hall’s entrance. Their live voices become a constant presence broadcast throughout the installation on a radio bandwidth designed to occupy a single city block, the physical footprint of Park Avenue Armory. Visitors are provided with radio receivers, enabling them to “carry” the voices as they traverse the installation. On the opposite end of the expansive drill hall, an attendant writer—a quiet presence and visual counterpoint to the readers—inscribes a response to the radio transmissions, the reading voices, and the room behind them as seen in a mirror reflection.

At the center of the installation, a field of over 40 swings suspended from the hall’s elliptical wrought iron structural trusses connect via ropes and pulleys to a massive cloth that bisects the space and is animated by the movement of the swings. The shifting constellations of people gathered and invited to use the swings create a complex kinetic system and an experience of communal connectivity.

“Ann Hamilton’s installation ties together the Armory’s architectural presence and its social history to create a visceral and resonant experience for our visitors,” stated Rebecca Robertson, President and Executive Producer of Park Avenue Armory. “As the swings are connected to the drill hall’s structural trusses, the event of a thread connects visitors to the building’s architecture within an environment of moving references that respond to the rich history and range of epic events that have taken place in the hall.”

“Hamilton’s installation draws together human actions—including speaking, singing, reading and writing—with the poetic potential of physical forces, such as velocity, time, and sound,” stated Kristy Edmunds, Consulting Artistic Director at the Armory. “Weaving together these threads of activity and spatial exploration, Hamilton’s work envelop the visitor with a demonstration of collective identity and interconnectedness.”

Ann Hamilton is a visual artist internationally recognized for her large scale, multi media installations. Responsive to the sites where they are made, her installations—which often include texts spoken and written, and participants who are suspended or in motion—immerse viewers in a poetic that is both visceral and literary.

Born in Lima, Ohio, in 1956, Hamilton received a BFA in textile design from the University of Kansas in 1979 and an MFA in Sculpture from the Yale University School of Art in 1985. Hamilton has received a MacArthur Fellowship, Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, NEA Visual Arts Fellowship, United States Artists Fellowship, the Heinz Award, and was chosen to represent the United States at the 1991 Sao Paulo Bienal and the 1999 Venice Biennale. In 1992, she established her home and practice in Columbus, Ohio. She is currently a Distinguished University Professor of Art at The Ohio State University.

Park Avenue Armory | Ann Hamilton | Kristy Edmunds |




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