Life During Wartime

National Security Ends a 20-Year Arts program

Says Pasternak: "While we were obviously extremely disappointed to lose the Anchorage—and we hope it's temporary—we've turned this around not only to re-commit to this neighborhood, but also to do what we do best." That would be "activating neglected urban space, trying to bring to it the possibility of cultural invigoration."

Creative Time certainly has a history of such "activating." For years, they programmed Art on the Beach, on the landfill that became Battery Park City. In 1993, their 42nd Street Art Project turned the entire block between Seventh and Eighth avenues over to artists, in that transitional moment between porn kings and Lion Kings. If some see them as agents of gentrification, I think they show up when gentrification is inexorable, already a done deal.

Station House Opera, Piranesi in New York, installation and performance 1988, Art in the Anchorage/Creative Time
photo: Adam Hume/Creative Time
Station House Opera, Piranesi in New York, installation and performance 1988, Art in the Anchorage/Creative Time

Because it works in public space, Creative Time ends up facing such implacabilities all the time. They have to be flexible. So they did not argue with the need to leave the only regular venue they have ever had. Art events are sometimes anarchic and uncontrollable—the opposite of secure. The worry is that we may all be headed in a direction where we can't afford the kind of serendipity so necessary to cutting-edge art making.

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