ART & DESIGN

Women Unite

In Pier 54, 27 women artists remake history.


In 1971, 27 artists, all of them male (Vito Acconci, Richard Serra, William Wegman, Dan Graham, and so on), were invited by the curator Willoughby Sharp to contribute an “action” for a day-long project on an abandoned pier in lower Manhattan. Graham was photographed while making a series of photographs; Bill Beckley played 8 notes on a trumpet; George Trakas paddled around the pier and made drawings. Now, some 45 years later, Cecilia Alemani, the Curator and Director of High Line Art, has reprised that project with some significant changes. Her iteration took place over the course of several months this summer on Pier 54, which is located on the Hudson River just below the High Line. And all of the 27 participating artists were women. Francisca Benitez performed a sign language soliloquy; Sharon Hayes spelled out “WOMEN OF THE WORLD UNITE, they said” in twelve-by-fifteen foot chalk letters; and in a fitting finale, Carol Bove invited all of her fellow artists for wine, beer and conversation. (Liz Ligon’s photo documentation of the entire project is on view at 120 Eleventh Avenue, through December 13th.) In some ways Alemani’s project is a critique of the original Pier 18 show (or more specifically, of the machismo art world of the time); but in others it’s simply a love letter. As the artist Jill Magid writes to Wolfgang Stoerchle, in one of a series of 27 postcards to the original participants: “I think I’m falling for you.”

Photos: Women Unite

Pier 54: Francisca Benitez, Soliloquy in Signs, 2014. Photo by Liz Ligon. Copyright 2014 Francisca Benitez, Liz Ligon, and Friends of the High Line. Commissioned and produced by Friends of the High Line.

Pier 54: Sharon Hayes, Women of the World Unite! they said., 2014. Photo by Liz Ligon. Copyright 2014 Sharon Hayes, Liz Ligon, and Friends of the High Line. Commissioned and produced by Friends of the High Line.

Pier 54: Carol Bove, Artists’ Meeting, 2014. Photo by Liz Ligon. Copyright 2014 Carol Bove, Liz Ligon, and Friends of the High Line. Commissioned and produced by Friends of the High Line.

Pier 54: Jill Magid, Postcards from the Pier, 2014. Photo by Liz Ligon. Copyright 2014 Jill Magid, Liz Ligon, and Friends of the High Line. Commissioned and produced by Friends of the High Line.

Pier 54: Liz Magic Laser, Directions for a photographer and a DJI Phantom Aerial UAV Drone Quadcopter, 2014. Photo by Liz Ligon. Copyright 2014 Liz Magic Laser, Liz Ligon, and Friends of the High Line. Commissioned and produced by Friends of the High Line.

Pier 54: Marianne Vitale, Whale, Launch, Hurl, 2014. Photo by Liz Ligon. Copyright 2014 Marianne Vitale, Liz Ligon, and Friends of the High Line. Commissioned and produced by Friends of the High Line.

Pier 54: Virginia Overton, Untitled (Sundown over the Hudson from Pier 54), 2014. Photo by Liz Ligon. Copyright 2014 Virginia Overton, Liz Ligon, and Friends of the High Line. Commissioned and produced by Friends of the High Line.

Pier 54: Anicka Yi, Esprit de She, 2014. Photo by Liz Ligon. Copyright 2014 Anicka Yi, Liz Ligon, and Friends of the High Line. Commissioned and produced by Friends of the High Line.

Pier 54: Andra Ursuta, Erasure, 2014. Photo by Liz Ligon. Copyright 2014 Andra Ursuta, Liz Ligon, and Friends of the High Line. Commissioned and produced by Friends of the High Line.

Pier 54: Shana Lutker, Curtain Blocking, 2014. Photo by Liz Ligon. Copyright 2014 Shana Lutker, Liz Ligon, and Friends of the High Line. Commissioned and produced by Friends of the High Line.

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