Friday, July 16, 2010

Color in NYC

Spencer Finch's "The River that Flows Both Ways", 2009
(700 laminated glass panels with color film interlayer)
High Line, NYC

The information below is from the High Line web site...

 Inspired by the Hudson River, Spencer Finch's The River That Flows Both Ways documents a 700-minute (11 hours, 40 minutes) journey on the river in a single day. The title is a translation of Muhheakantuck, the Native American name for the Hudson that refers to the river’s natural flow in two directions.

From a tugboat drifting on Manhattan's west side and past the High Line, Finch photographed the river's surface once every minute. The color of each pane of glass was based on a single pixel point in each photograph and arranged chronologically in the tunnel’s existing steel mullions. Time is translated into a grid, reading from left to right and top to bottom, capturing the varied reflective and translucent conditions of the water's surface. The work, like the river, is experienced differently depending on the light levels and atmospheric conditions of the site. In this narrative orientation, the glass reveals Finch's impossible quest for the color of water.

According to his web site, he is interested in exploring ideas about color, light, perception and memory.

This piece was particularly moving to me for many reasons - first of all was the general viewing of the work under the Chelsea Market.Intriguing location - special - almost as if it were a gift of color and light. At first, I almost thought that it was something original - something left there during the renovation of the High Line itself.
photo by David B. Smith (


  1. I'm very fond of this and other Finch works. We heard him speak in West Chelsea a while before the High Line piece was done. I assume you watched the nice little video on the High Line site.

    Matthew Buckingham also has a good video piece on the river called "Muhheakantuck–Everything Has a Name" and Creative Time did a river cruise in the harbor, showing the film as we circumnavigated in a water ferry.

  2. Absolutely gorgeous. I must check this out further.