Reading the Streets: FLOW.12 at Randall’s Island
NEW YORK – The five-artist environmental Art Exhibition on display along the Randall’s Island shoreline makes the trip across the East River footbridge, connecting Manhattan and the Island, well worth it. Open through September, the exhibit is a continuance of last year’s Flow.11, featuring artwork developed through the partnering Bronx Museum of the Arts. While there are several installations making up the exhibit, one of the most striking and demanding of public interaction is that of Michael Clyde Johnson.
Upon approaching the wooden cube perched on the top of a gentle hill, you think you are looking at the strangely designed bones of a tiny house. Upon closer inspection, you become aware of the way the container has focused your view and realize it’s a sculpture designed to manipulate the way you perceive the landscape. Depending on which way you are looking, the wooden installation frames out the view of the city across the water, or opens to look out on a bridge and a sports field. The way you approach the piece determines what aspect of the environment is showcased. You become a participant in the view, watching the landscape become successively more focused as you step up the platform and further into the cube. Sitting within, you become aware of the way the light filters through the slatted walls and the sense of relief from the sun the shade offers. It’s public art of the best kind—meant to be played with and explored, and helping shape the way you take in the environment around you. It challenges the way you interact with nature.
Michael created a similar piece that sits in the Catskills Forest Preserve. His art has also been displayed throughout New York and in his home state of Nebraska.
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