It’s not hard to avoid the tourist swarms who rush through guidebook top ten lists like speed daters. Simply take a ride on the 7 train through the most diverse place on earth to the fabulous Flushing Meadows. Last Thursday, under a near ninety degree sun, children splashed in the fountains of the Unisphere, tiny figures beneath the twelve story globe.
As usual, the adjacent Queens Museum was nearly empty. The scale model of NYC’s five boroughs, another artifact of the 1964/5 World’s fair, deserves an entire day of exploration on its own. Painted on the outside wall of this panorama, in the museum’s grand sunlit space, bright colors represent four seasons in the Sunnyside garden of sound artist Liz Phillips. The piece is a collaboration between Phillips and her daughter Heidi Howard. Wrought iron chairs from Phillips’s mother allow meditation upon the music of streams and singing birds.
My favorite piece in the museum was part of Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas. The SF based artist Rigo 23 and his indigenous collaborators from Chiapas created a fantastic Autonomous InterGalactic Space Program, which included a massive corn husk space ship suggesting the alternative autonomous world Zapatistas struggle to find. The piece showed previously at L.A.’s RedCat gallery and the Anglim Gilbert Gallery in San Francisco.