For two decades, Austrian artist Erwin Wurm has been transforming such capitalistic items of consumption as homes (and beds, toilets, pillows, and couches) and automobiles into more abstract and theoretical objects in such series as “Fat Cars,” “Melting Houses,” and “Discipline of Subjectivity.” In 2015, Wurm’s “Curry Bus,” a dramatically altered Volkswagen Microbus, sold curry sausages outside the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg. The “One Minute Sculpture” artist has now reshaped a VW Microbus into “Hot Dog Bus,” a mustard-yellow, pudgy, frankfurter-shaped vehicle that is giving out free wieners in Brooklyn Bridge Park on Saturdays on Pier 1 and Sundays on Pier 5 through the last weekend in August. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, franks were developed more than half a millennium ago, either by a butcher in Coburg, Germany, or a community in Vienna, the Austrian name of which is Wien. In the nineteenth century, European immigrants brought the dachshund-shaped edible to the States, where a bun and sauerkraut were soon added. Thus, Wurm sees the hot dog as an all-American food that brings equality to the rich and the poor, the native born and the immigrant, the worker and the tourist; for example, stand by any frank cart in New York and marvel at the vast array of men, women, and children stopping by to pick up a quick fix. The bus itself looks somewhat obese, hinting that the frankfurter is not exactly the healthiest of lunches or dinners and is an example of Americans’ less-than-stellar diet as a nation. Just remember to wait in line at “Hot Dog Bus” and clearly state whether you want ketchup or mustard on your free weenie, then take a long walk around beautiful Brooklyn Bridge Park to burn those extra calories.
Anselm Kiefer’s first site-specific outdoor sculpture commissioned for America is preparing to fly away tomorrow. Since the beginning of May, the German artist’s mythological “Uraeus” has been perched at the front of Channel Gardens at Rockefeller Center, its impressive wings spread wide, a snake winding up its column, an open, blank book at its center, with other books strewn around the ground, as if victims of some kind of apocalypse. Reaching twenty feet high and boasting a wing span of thirty feet, the gray lead, stainless steel, fiberglass, and resin sculpture was inspired by the Egyptian cobra, the serpent goddess Wadjet, and the vulture goddess Nekhbet in addition to the surrounding architecture of Rockefeller Center and Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra. “This book, with a voice bridging centuries, is not only the highest book there is, the book that is truly characterized by the air of the heights — the whole fact of man lies beneath it at a tremendous distance — it is also the deepest, born out of the innermost wealth of truth, an inexhaustible well to which no pail descends without coming up again filled with gold and goodness,” Nietzsche wrote about his 1891 tome.
Meanwhile, Wadjet and Nekhbet, the Two Ladies, symbolize Egypt’s unification in ancient times, evoking numerous kinds of unification needed here in the US and around the globe to bring people together. Thus, it is no accident that the sculpture, a project of the Public Art Fund, fits right in at Rockefeller Center, a major tourist destination in the city. Kiefer, who has worked with lead and books throughout his half-century career, leaves the pages empty, as if viewers can stand at the lecternlike design and share their own ideas while also contemplating the potential death of the written word. Be sure to walk all around the installation to get its full effect; at one angle, it looks like the snake’s tongue is heading toward the American flag. “Art will survive its ruins,” Kiefer declared in a series of lectures he gave in Paris. He has also said, paraphrasing the Gospel According to John, “Where art is, we cannot reach.” You have only a few more days to experience this deeply philosophical, visually stunning work by one of the world’s most beguiling artists.
On July 14, 1789, a Parisian mob stormed the Bastille prison, a symbolic victory that kicked off the French Revolution and the establishment of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. Ever since, July 14 has been a national holiday celebrating liberté, égalité, and fraternité. In New York City, the Bastille Day festivities are set for Sunday, July 15, along Sixtieth St., where the French Institute Alliance Française hosts its annual daylong party of food, music, dance, and other special activities. The celebration begins with a live screening of the World Cup Final in Florence Gould Hall and outside, where, as luck would have it, France vies for the coveted title. There will be a Summer in the South of France Tasting in FIAF’s Tinker Auditorium from 12 noon to 4:30 ($25), with wines from Sud de France, French beers from Kronenbourg, Président cheeses, Bayonne Ham, and artisan breads from Maison Kayser, as well as the elegant Champagne & Jazz Party in Le Skyroom at 1:30 and 3:30 ($65-$75), featuring Champagnes from Pol Roger, Ayala, Champagne Delamotte, and Besserat de Bellefon, cocktails from Grand Marnier, macarons from Ladurée, chocolates from Voilà Chocolat, and hors d’oeuvres from Maman Bakery, in addition to a live performance by Chloé Perrier. The annual raffle ($20) can win you such prizes as trips to Paris and Le Martinique or dinners at French restaurants.
Food, drink, and beauty and fashion items will be available in the French-themed market and the new French Garden from Jerome Dreyfuss, 727 Sailbags, L’atelier, Moutet, French Wink, Ladurée, Brasserie Cognac, Dominique Ansel Kitchen, Le Souk, Miss Madeleine, Oliviers & Co., Mille-feuille, Sel Magique, Simply Gourmand, St. Michel, Sud de France, Macaron Parlour, Pistache, Lunii, and others. The fête also includes roaming French mime Catherina Gasta, a kids corner with a library and arts & crafts, a photobooth, “An Ode for Freedom” interactive street art with Kinmx & Iljin, Can-Can Dancing with Karen Peled (12:45 & 2:10), a Caribbean Zouk dance lesson with Franck Muhel (4:25), the Citroën Classic Car Show, live performances by MarieLine Grinda (1:00), It’s Showtime NYC! (1:30), Jacques & Marie’s Paris Swing Band (2:30), the Hungry March Band (2:55), La Jarry (3:05), and Sense (3:55), and a sneak peek screening of Yvan Attal’s Le Brio ($14, 5:30) in Florence Gould Hall.
The free summer arts & culture season is under way, with dance, theater, music, art, film, and other special outdoor programs all across the city. Every week we will be recommending a handful of events. Keep watching twi-ny for more detailed highlights as well.
Sunday, July 8
Summergarden: New Music for New York: Juilliard Concert I: New Music for Mixed Ensembles, featuring Tanada II by Shin-ichirō Ikebe, Leonora Pictures by Philip Cashian, and A Sibyl by James Primosch, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, Museum of Modern Art, 8:00
Monday, July 9
Public Art Opening: Rebecca Manson at Tribeca Park, installation of “Closer and the View Gets Wider,” Tribeca Park, 6:00
Tuesday, July 10
Bryant Park Reading Room: Poetry, with Shara McCallum, Jill McDonough, Alessandra Lynch, and Donald Revell, produced in partnership with Alice James Books, Bryant Park, 7:00
Wednesday, July 11
Films on the Green: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Luis Buñuel, 1972), J. Hood Wright Park, 351 Fort Washington Ave., 8:30
Thursday, July 12
BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival: Antibalas, Combo Chimbita, DJ Nickodemus, Prospect Park Bandshell, 7:30
Friday, July 13
Tribeca Drive-In Presents Westfield Dinner and a Movie: Moonstruck (Norman Jewison, 1987), Oculus Plaza, 7:30
Saturday, July 14
NYC Audubon: “It’s Your Tern!” Festival, Governors Island, 12 noon - 4:00
Who: Will Rawls
What: High Line Performance Art
Where: On the High Line at Seventeenth St., Sunken Overlook
When: Tuesday, July 10, through Thursday, July 12, free with RSVP, 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Why: Brooklyn-based choreographer, curator, writer, and performer Will Rawls will present the site-specific Will Rawls, Uncle Rebus on the High Line in the Sunken Overlook at Seventeenth St. and Tenth Ave. on July 10-12 from 6:00 to 8:00; admission is free, but advance RSVP is required. Rawls, who has performed with Shen Wei, Marina Abramović, Nicholas Leichter, Maria Hassabi, Tino Sehgal, Jérôme Bel, Noemie LaFrance, and others and is half of the performance art duo Dance Gang (with Kennis Hawkins), reimagines the controversial Uncle Remus narrator and his Brer Rabbit tales, joining Trinity Bobo, Stanley Gambucci, and Jasmine Hearn, in costumes by Eleanor O’Connell, as they use a custom keyboard to tell a rather different story in the form of a choreographed meditation on language, race, tradition, and the human body.
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing and Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Gallery, fifth floor
Daily through July 15, $20-$35
Any major career survey of gender-bending, genre-redefining, multidisciplinary, intergalactic superstar David Bowie must be innovative, unique, cutting-edge, and unusual, for nothing less would do justice to the man born David Jones in Brixton in 1947. The Brooklyn Museum’s “David Bowie is,” the most successful exhibition in the institution’s history, is just that, an illuminating exploration of the actor, musician, singer-songwriter, fashion icon, painter, video artist, husband, father, and more. Given unprecedented access to Bowie’s personal archive, the wide-ranging, highly ambitious, immersive multimedia presentation collects hundreds of items, from sketches of his parents to his baby pictures, from handwritten lyric sheets to books that influenced him, from posters of his early bands to drawings of his costumes and sets for live performances, among a multitude of other memorabilia and paraphernalia. One section is devoted to a single song, “Space Oddity,” with video, photographs, screenprints, album artwork, music sheets, related toys, and more, another looks at his various stage personas (the Thin White Duke, Ziggy Stardust, Hamlet), and another explores his work in film and theater, including Labyrinth, The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Elephant Man, The Last Temptation of Christ, Basquiat, and The Image. A five-minute clip from the 1969 promotional film Love You till Tuesday features “The Mask (A Mime),” in which Bowie performs as a mime.
Organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the show gets everything right that MoMA’s 2015 disaster, “Björk,” got wrong. Purchasing timed tickets in advance, visitors traverse the exhibition at their own pace and in whatever order they would like, wearing headphones that, in a move of genius, react to where they are physically. Thus, when you’re in front of a video screen depicting Bowie performing “The Man Who Sold the World” on Saturday Night Live, that is what you are hearing. Turn around and take a few steps in any direction and the audio will switch to whatever you are now looking at, whether it’s an interview with designer Kansai Yamamoto, Bowie’s preparations for the never-made Diamond Dogs film, or a small room dedicated to his final record, Blackstar. There is something to experience in almost every nook and cranny, so sometimes it is fun to let the audio guide you, attracted by what you hear instead of what you see.
Among the items to watch out for are a series of line drawings that serves as an artistic conversation between Bowie and Laurie Anderson; Guy Peellaert’s original painting for the Diamond Dogs album cover; the original lyrics to “Rebel, Rebel”; a Bowie painting of Iggy Pop in a Berlin landscape; a letter from Jim Henson to Bowie about Labyrinth; a John Lennon sketch (“For Video Dave . . .)”; Bowie’s script for the Lazarus musical; a Bowie doodle on a cigarette pack; a telefax from Elvis Presley; and Bowie’s charcoal drawing of his adopted home, New York City. The exhibition culminates in high style in a room blasting the original “Heroes” video and live footage of “Rebel, Rebel” from the Reality Tour and “Heroes” from the Concert for New York City, headphones off, everyone experiencing transcendence as one. “Though nothing, nothing will keep us together / We can beat them, forever and ever / Oh, we can be heroes just for one day,” Bowie declares, leaving behind a remarkable legacy that will continue to keep people together, believing that every one of us has the possibility of being a hero. On July 7 (exhibition ticket required, 8:00), Resonator Collective will perform a Bowie tribute, on July 14 ($16, 2:00), there will be a conversation between Daphne Brooks and Jack Halberstam about Bowie’s lasting influence, and on July 15 ($16, 2:00), the final day of the exhibit, the museum hosts the discussion “The Soulfulness of David Bowie” with Carlos Alomar, Robin Clark, and Christian John Wikane. After seeing the exhibit, you’ll have yet more ways to end the already tantalizing sentence fragment “David Bowie is . . .”
BRIC CELEBRATE BROOKLYN! FESTIVAL: THE BLUES PROJECT FEATURING DORRANCE DANCE WITH TOSHI REAGON & BIGLovely
Prospect Park Bandshell
Ninth St. & Prospect Park West
Thursday, June 28, free, 7:00
In 2011, North Carolina–raised tap-dancer, choreographer, director, and teacher Michelle Dorrance founded the New York City–based Dorrance Dance, focusing on the past, present, and future of tap dancing, pushing the limits of the discipline in such works as Myelination, ETM: Double Down, and SOUNDspace. For more than three decades, Atlanta-born, DC-raised, longtime Brooklynite Toshi Reagon has been performing her unique mix of folk, blues, gospel, rock, and funk, joined by her band, BIGLovely, since 1996. Dorrance, a MacArthur Genius, onetime STOMP cast member, and former bassist with Darwin Deez, and Reagon, an activist whose mother is Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon and father was Cordell Hull Reagon, both founders of the Freedom Singers of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and whose godfather is Pete Seeger, joined forces in 2013 to create The Blues Project, a sixty-five-minute piece for nine dancers and five musicians, choreographed by Dorrance, Derick K. Grant, and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards and featuring original music composed by Reagon, who has previously written music for the Jane Comfort Dance Company and Urban Bush Women.
The work is being presented for free June 28 at the Prospect Park Bandshell as part of the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, with Toshi Reagon & BIGLovely performing the score live. After the show, there will be a special reception with New York–based Peruvian artist Grimanesa Amorós, whose light sculpture, Hedera, was recently unveiled on the grass at the bandshell, commissioned by BRIC specifically for the fortieth anniversary of the Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival. Amorós will talk about her work with BRIC contemporary art VP Elizabeth Ferrer, followed by an audience Q&A.