Home Sweet Home
Ken Launder Guest installation, HOMEBASE III 2008. All photos by Oded Hirsch and Adi Shniderman.
If you like your site-specific art more thoughtful and interactive than academic and ideological, go to 764 St. Nicholas Ave. and 148th St. by May 18 for the third edition of HomeBase, the annual project that explores notions of home in urban areas undergoing economic and cultural transformation. Organized by Israeli artist-curator Anat Litwit and actress-producer Adi Ezroni, this year’s show converts a Sugar Hill apartment building into a playhouse for about a dozen international artstars exploring the antinomies of real estate and culture in New York.
Absurdly oversize couches on the ground floor, pictured above, return even the biggest among us to Alice-in-Wonderland scale, recalling a time when the world was designed for Big People and we didn’t quite fit. Andrea Loefke (below) serves up oatmeal and fresh strawberries cooked on a hotplate in a room turned into a large-scale picnic basket, complete with wall-to-wall plastic tablecloth and anything bright red reminiscent of her Heidelberg childhood.
A “Keep Out” sign marks the bedroom door of an imagined teenager who repulses her nosy parents while nonetheless broadcasting her private life in MySpace videos glimpsed through the peephole. On this particular day, in a series of concurrent salons and art talks, local historian Michael Henry Adams sits in a parlor with picture windows overlooking a Sunday afternoon in Harlem and discourses on the history of the place, from the sale of Manhattan for a few guilders to George Washington’s first victory after being chased uptown by the Redcoats to the present era, when the five-story townhouse is in the process of being renovated into condos for Yuppies and the neighbors down the block seem not totally amused.
The exterior of HomeBase in Harlem.