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

As US Strikes Syria, China Sees Parallels at Home

Beijing is debating how much support to give international coalition against IS militants and trying to figure out how many Chinese nationals may have joined group overseas More

CDC: Ebola Could Infect 1.4 M by 2015

US health officials say if efforts to curb the outbreak are not increased, cases will soar dramatically by early next year More

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in 5 Countries

US Agency for International Development partners with celebrities to call attention to importance of education for girls worldwide 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.
Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'i
X
Scott Stearns
September 23, 2014 10:52 PM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video US, Gulf Allies Strike Islamic State Militants in Syria

United States forces have carried out strikes against Islamic State or ISIL militant positions in Syria - the first time Western forces have taken action on Syrian soil. Five U.S. allies from the Gulf joined the military action. Local reports suggest dozens of militants were killed. The U.S. also carried out unilateral missile strikes against a Syria-based terror group which Washington says poses an imminent threat to the West. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video High Intensity Focused Ultrasound Used to Kill Cancer Tumor

There is a new way of killing certain cancer tumors that allows the patient to go home on the same day. Surgeons at the Keck Medical Center of the University of Southern California became the first doctors to use this procedure on a patient with the help of high intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU, and new robotic technology. Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in Five Countries

Hollywood stars Alicia Keys, Jennifer Garner and 30 others have voiced their support for a U.S.-backed initiative called "Let Girls Learn." The $231 million program, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, is aimed at ensuring public and quality education for girls worldwide. As VOA's Mariama Diallo reports, this new program will focus on five countries in Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
Video

Video UN: Relocation of Bedouins in Israel Weakens Two-state Solution

Rural Bedouins living in disputed lands east of Jerusalem could soon find themselves forcibly relocated. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Jerusalem that while Israel defends the move as in the Bedouins’ best interests, the United Nations says the plan threatens the survival of the two-state solution with Palestinians.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Prolonged Drought Plagues SW Oklahoma Farmers

Parts of western Texas and southwestern Oklahoma have been in drought conditions for several years running and the deficit in rainfall has taken a heavy toll on cotton and grain production. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin says the state has suffered $2 billion in agricultural losses since 2011. There has been rain in recent weeks, but, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Altus, Oklahoma, for most farmers it has been too late.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Trumpeter, percussionist and bandleader Etienne Charles was born in Trinidad and blends island rhythms with modern jazz. He and his stellar band perform a rich gumbo of jazz, calypso, reggae, and rock-steady that Charles calls “Creole Soul” on "The Hamilton Live."