10 Things You Need to Do at the Festival of Ideas for the New City

05/05/2011 9:01 AM |

worms at the Festival of Ideas for the New City

This week the New Museum‘s first ever Festival of Ideas for the New City commandeers every public space and institution between 10th Street and Canal for art exhibitions, sustainability workshops, performances, urbanism labs, parties, screenings, and so on. The program is massive, the map is packed with dots, but these are some Festival of Ideas events you should not miss.

Walk Through The Worms: Designed by Family and Playlab, these neon tubes (rendered at top) snaking all along Bowery, Stanton, and Rivington on Saturday replace the tired old street fair tent design.

Watch Flash:Light, Let Us Make Cake: On Saturday evening from 8pm onwards Nuit Blanche New York projects a series of short films onto the entire facade of the New Museum. In the films 25 artists (including Olek and Marilyn Minter) work on scale replicas of the distinctive New Museum building ranging from 11 inches to 11 feet tall.

Visit No Longer Empty‘s Exhibition About Face: That band of nomadic curators who take over vacant storefronts with contemporary art have found a spot at 215 East Houston Street for this show of ephemeral, participatory and installation art about the urban ecosystem. Opens Friday, continues throughout the Festival of Ideas and until June 12.

See The Bowery Wars Part I, a Musical in the Street: Part historical reenactment, part musical melodrama, this musical performed in the streets dramatizes the 1903 mayoral elections, contemporaneous gang wars along Bowery and, for good measure, a budding romance between two young lovers from feuding families. It’ll be like Gangs of New York + West Side Story, basically.

See the After Hours Murals on Bowery Stores’ Shutters: We’ve been checking in on these for the past week, and though they’re only scheduled to be completed on Saturday, most artists’ murals on the metal shutters of Bowery restaurant supply stores have been visible for the last few nights—including pieces by Lawrence Weiner, Mary Heilmann, Deborah Kass and Glenn Ligon.

Go Into the Spacebuster: This inflatable pavilion balloons out the back of a truck to create an enclosed, translucent public space. We last got into it when it visited Dumbo a couple years ago, and now creators Raumlabor have brought it back for Saturday’s street fest, when they’ll inflate in Sara Roosevelt Park.

Work Out at the Center for Architecture: For the three-part jumpUP, jumpDOWN, jumpZONE! check out the Center for Architecture’s exhibition about New York’s potential for active, energy-generating buildings, tour the Center’s geothermal system, and get active with an art-exercise installation by Rosan Bosch.

Take a Flashlight Tour of Drawing Center’s Drawing and its Double Exhibition: On Saturday at 10pm, Drawing Center executive director Brett Littman will lead visitors on a tour of the darkened institution’s current exhibition of rarely shown engraved metal printing plates from the 16th to 20th centuries, by flashlight.

Try to Find Art in Odd PlacesInstallations: The non-profit that promotes artists creating ephemeral work throughout the urban ecosystem has a whole bunch of works planned for unexpected places on the LES—previous installations have included barbed wire crochet, subversive street signs and clandestine projections.

Take an Intensive One-on-One Class at Cabinet Magazine‘s University-on-the-Bowery: The Brooklyn-based publication invited leading scholars to talk to visitors in short, informal, one-on-one conversations about their specific area of expertise.

The Festival of Ideas began yesterday, kicks into high gear Saturday, and continues through Sunday.