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Art Tours

Unveil the Artist: Walter De Maria

What does public art look like in New York City? What happens when the City changes, but the art remains the same? How does art in public space appeal to modern audiences if you can’t find it on social media? Walter De Maria is not a household name. Though he made large-scale, location-specific art pieces that have captured public attention in cities throughout the world, he kept a low profile in his life and career. He was a mystery to the press, seldom making public appearances or speaking out about his life or work. De Maria preferred to make art for outdoor spaces; wide accessibility to the public was essential to him, but he offered very little explanation for his art. Communicating what his pieces mean, it seems, was never De Maria’s priority. After his death in 2013, today’s audiences…

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April 15, 2019

Diego Rivera’s Mural of Resistance

 What is the ownership of a work of art? Who has the rights to build–and/or destroy–art that is deemed disruptive? Who decides what story gets told? If you were alive in the 1930s, you knew Diego Rivera’s work. Known for his communism, his short temper, and his extremely detailed depictions of social and cultural life, he is regarded as one of the best visual artists of all time, and a shaper of the Mexican mural movement. In 1932, Nelson D. Rockefeller commissioned Diego Rivera to make a giant mural for the lobby of 30 Rockefeller Center. Although Rockefeller didn’t agree with Rivera’s politics, he was an acclaimed art collector and wanted to have work from the best artists of the day. River was undeniably on that list. Rockefeller paid Rivera $21,000 (or $361,362 in 2019!) to paint a 63-foot-long mural…

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April 8, 2019

Secret New York: The Filmmaker Who Saw the Future

What makes a lasting legacy? How are stories embedded in the fabric of New York City? What happens when we remain curious about details?  In 1902, Georges Méliès imagined the moon. In one of the earliest science fiction films, a group of astronomers (an ensemble of highly-theatrical French actors) travel from earth to the moon in a rocket released from a cannon. The capsule rocket lands right in the eye of the moon, which is shown with exaggerated human-like facial features. An exciting adventure story is told in this 12-minute, silent, black-and-white film, and the stakes are high, simply due tot he artist’s ability to imagine. The Village Voice named this 1902 masterpiece on of the 20th Century’s 100 greatest films. In the early 1900s, George Méliès was praised for his innovative storytelling, his use of cutting-edge special effects, and…

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March 4, 2019

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