Can you quit New York?

Sunny Park
Sep 20, 2013 4:07PM

T.J. Wilcox : In the Air

Feeling like you are done with this nonsense? Feel free to do so after paying a visit at the Whitney Museum.

Been there, done that. You first come to New York. You get overwhelmed. But as you make New York City a little more acquainted, you feel a little better. And within a few months, you are in love with the City and you don’t even realize. You feel like you belong in the city, hustling and bustling with the world’s fanciest crowds. But then after the blissful honeymoon phase and after few hearbreaks (either from work or relationship), you realize you are overworked and underpaid. It makes no sense to live in New York. You want out. 

If you are wondering why you are still paying ridiculous rent money for rodents infested apartment and dealing with big city nonsense, T.J.Wilcox’s In the Air is a great reminder of why you came here and what you are here for. 

Occupying the second floor of Whitney Museum, it is presented in cinema-in-the-round, which was in style circa 1920. From dawn until dusk, six projectors capture the panoramic view of Manhattan on the roof of the artist’s studio in Union Square. (It was very easy for me to recognize the location as I lived in a dorm in Union Square for two years. Also the Zeckendorf buildings are pretty easy to spot)

One after another, each documentary presents a story that is particularly inspired by a particular view from the Union Square location. For instance, in one film, Wilcox revisits the Empire State Building. Originally, the once tallest skyscraper was to be used as a docking station for trans-Atlantic zeppelins. (That is, until the tragic Hindenburg Disaster compelled to abandon the plan)

Other stories show what New York means to Wilcox : A documentary about 1980s fashion illustrator Antonio, who was Wilcox’s inspiration ; An emotionally charged interview with a building manager who watched the Twin Towers’s collapse from the building ; A tribute to Gloria Vanderbilt, New York’s very own socialite ; Andy Warhol’s recreation of balloon on the day ofPope Paul VI’s arrival in NY ; Manhattanhenge

If New York made you feel alive even for once, you will appreciate Wilcox's interpretation and find your own as well. 

Sunny Park
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019