Keren Anavy: I Wish I Had A River, The Underground Lobby Garden
ZAZ10T Gallery, 10 Times Square/1441 Broadway
Through August 31, 2021
By LUISA CALDWELL, July 2021
Keren Anavy has created a multi-media experience in the lobby of 10 Times Square known as ZAZ10T Gallery, and curated by Lauren Powell. Wistfully entitled I Wish I Had A River & The Underground Lobby Garden, the exhibition extends to an enormous electronic billboard at 41st and 7th. I Wish I Had A River pops up between ads every few moments, forms of swirling orbs and a horizontally moving miasma of color evoke a river as it wraps around the corner. It’s a challenging juxtaposition, art and advertising, maybe the new paragon of public art.
The Underground Lobby Garden considers the history of the location in regard to nature, specifically waterways. Born and raised in the arid geo climates of Israel, water is a recurring theme in Anavy’s work. A block away once stood Croton Reservoir, now the Public Library and Bryant Park. While the Bricken Textile Building (10 Times Square) is classic Art Deco with many of its original decorative ornamentation adding another layer of site-specificity to the installation imagery.
Anavy approaches the installation like one who enters a lobby with the intent of getting to the elevators. An overhead 48 foot long watery blue banner quickly leads one through the wide corridor. Or stop and consider the serene paintings made with the same technique as the banner overhead, a process of dripping diluted pigments onto submerged mylar creates an expressive effect.
At the lobby’s rear is a fabricated forest of clear acrylic tubes inserted with the painted mylar. But here is included interpretations of the original Deco elements, plus safety orange, a nod to all the orange construction steam-stacks and barriers ubiquitous to a city constantly under construction. The same projections found on the billboard are projected onto the rear wall near the forest of tubes, and via its circular form can readily be interpreted as a pond.
In the elevator area there is a large composite work of past and present elements: a large painting, lacy laser cut abstractions, and a basin of actual water tinted deep blue. This assemblage is perfectly sited in the marble alcove creating a grotto-like impression complete with cool water and hanging moss.
All the work is representative of some form of nature (river, garden, forest, pond) but paradoxically made with various plastics as well as digitally. The lobby’s elegant essence is perfectly reflected in Anavy's clean and stylish work. Messy nature is cultivated and hermetically tamed, calm and civilized for the moment, until one re-emerges into the wild of Times Square. WM
Luisa Caldwell is an artist working and living between NYC and Italy. Known for large scale public art works, with recent installations at Hancher Auditorium at University of Iowa using 17,000 found and collected candy wrappers. Permanent projects include commissions from NYC Percent for Art and NYC MTA Art& Design. Autumn of 2019 Caldwell has residencies through CEC Back Apartment Residency in St. Petersburg, Russia and Guild House at Guild Hall, East Hampton, NY.view all articles from this author