What could be more pleasing than such an invitation? I paid a visit to David Byrne’s installation “Playing the Building.” If you don’t already know, he has set up an organ in the cavernous and semi-decayed Battery Maritime Building on the southern shore of Manhattan. Playing the organ triggers various sounds from the building’s elements – thrumming fans, whistling pipes, knocking radiators and more – producing an eerie, haunting, and thoroughly delightful symphony! The playful enticement above is stenciled on the floor in front of the magical instrument.
If the thought of contemporary art has begun to make you cringe, becoming synonymous with pretension, cynicism, and consumerism, then you can thank Mr. Byrne for the antidote. This imaginative, musical interaction with a classic New York space is a gift to all who care to partake, and it’s FREE (until it closes, August 10th). Anyone can have a turn. The only merch in sight is a large, beautiful poster depicting the installation – yours for the whopping price of one American dollar. I assume Damien Hirst is thinking, “What a fuckwit that David Byrne is!”
After that, you can wander over to the stunning gardens in Battery Park, where you can visit Zelda, and there are outdoor musical devices you and your friends can play with your legs and feet. FREE! FREE! FREE!
But even if you don’t get down to South Ferry anytime soon, do yourself and everyone else around you a favor, and fer god’s sake, please play.