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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller has made a name for herself appearing with such high-profile artists as Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Tia and her quartet performed music from her CD “Angelic Warrior” on our latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."