This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

18Oct/12

THOMAS HIRSCHHORN: CONCORDIA, CONCORDIA

Thomas Hirschhorn installation keeps visitors on the outside of capsized ship (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Gladstone Gallery
530 West 21st St. between Tenth & Eleventh Aves.
Through October 20
www.gladstonegallery.com
concordia, concordia slideshow

On January 13 of this year, the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia hit a reef, ran aground, and capsized, resulting in the death of thirty-two passengers. Although the captain, Francesco Schettino, was blamed for the disaster and has been labeled a coward for abandoning ship — at one point he referred to the crash as a “banal accident” — his crew ended up being named Seafarers of the Year for their heroism in helping to save more than 4,000 passengers. Swiss-born, Paris-based artist Thomas Hirschhorn has re-created the inside of the ship in the large-scale installation “Concordia, Concordia,” which continues at the Gladstone Gallery in Chelsea through Saturday. Hirschhorn has painstakingly reconstructed the inside of the vast ocean liner, leaning over on its side, filling the space with upturned chairs, life preservers, dishes, tables, a neon beer sign, a flat-screen monitor, and other elements, but the work is oddly cold and dispassionate, a kind of overly controlled chaos. In many of his past pieces, visitors were able to walk in for a more intimate and up-close experience (“Cavemanman” “Superficial Engagement”), but here one must stand outside of it, looking in as if it were a wreck by the side of the highway. “I want to do a Big work to show that the saying ‘Too Big to Fail’ no longer makes any sense,” Hirschhorn explains in his official statement about the project. “On the contrary, when something is Too Big, it must Fail — this is what I want to give Form to.” In conjunction with “Concordia, Concordia” and his upcoming Gramschi Monument, the DIA Art Foundation on West 22nd St. is showing Hirschhorn’s “Timeline: Work in Public Space” through November 3.

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