News / Arts & Entertainment

From Vast to Nano, at NYC Museum

From Vast to Nano, at NYC Museumi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 16, 2014 11:20 PM
The skyline of New York City is one of the most recognizable in the world. But if you want to look at the Big Apple in a brand new way you can go to Queens. VOA's Carolyn Weaver has more.
Carolyn Weaver

Inside the Queens Museum in New York, there's another New York City, in miniature: a 50-year-old diorama of the city, built as an exhibit for the New York World's Fair in 1964.

At nearly 870 square meters, the Panorama of the City of New York is the world's largest scale-model of an urban environment. Every New York street, building, and landmark erected before 1992 is represented, from the Chrysler Building to Central Park, and all 100 or so bridges.

Visitors gawk from the surrounding ramps and balconies as day turns to night every 20 minutes, and tiny lights twinkle on - until dawn breaks again.

But the museum's central and permanent attraction also presents an unusual problem for exhibitions director and curator Hitomi Iwasaki.

"No matter what fantastic exhibition you think you put outside, everybody goes back to the Panorama and goes 'wow!'" she said.

Spectacular Panorama

For the museum's current show, marking the 50th anniversary of both the fair and the Panorama, Iwasaki said, "I decided not to compete any more, but to embrace and include the Panorama itself in the show. The exhibition's called Bringing the World Into the World, including largest and smallest collection items of the Museum. The largest one, of course, is everyone's favorite, the Panorama."

One-hundred people spent three years building the Panorama for the New York World's Fair. Visitors viewed it from a monorail ride billed as a "helicopter" tour "over" New York City. Iwasaki says the Panorama has never been moved a centimeter since then, though it is updated periodically as funds allow. The building where it was originally installed, next to another World's Fair landmark, an immense steel globe called the Unisphere, has been the Queens Museum since 1972.

For the current show, Iwasaki combined existing works and new ones, most of them sculptures or installations. "It's filled with interesting ideas about how we like to see the world, how much we like to see the world. We like to know the world by seeing," she said.

A sculpture by Beijing artist Liu Wei, for example, is a cityscape made of book pages.

"Book pages pounded, and then compressed together," Iwasaki said. "It's rather wild, almost forceful, violent piece. It talks about the craziness of development, the density and intensity of the city environment."

While it's not about any city in particular, she said, "It may have something to do with the sociopolitical climate in China in general, that books are censored and controlled very much."

Powerful forces

In another room, a sculpture by Japanese artist Hikaru Hayakawa uses copper pipes to diagram human history. Originally made as a fountain, as an on-site video shows, the horizontal pipes stand for the life-spans of nation-states and empires, while vertical tubes represent moments of conquest, war or peaceful union.

A 1983 scale model of the solar system by Chris Burden is installed with the sun hanging above the Bronx in the Panorama, and Earth, Mercury, Mars and Venus in other rooms of the museum. "Jupiter is in our next door zoo, the Queens Zoo," said Iwasaki, while Neptune is in a Mexican restaurant a kilometer and a half away.

A microscopic replica of the Queens Museum, 120 micrometers long, was made with nanotechnology by artist-engineer Jessica Rylan. It is invisible, hidden inside the Panorama's own scale-model of the museum.

"It is there, but it only exists in your imagination, believing that is there. So, that is the largest and the smallest in the show," said Iwasaki.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”