Skywriting Freaking People Out Yesterday Was Just Art


Yesterday, an unseasonably lovely day, at some point around 4 in the afternoon, people suddenly started noticing messages in the sky in Lower Manhattan — things like, “Lost Our Lease,” “Last Chance,” and “Now Open.” The moderately terrifying messages — last chance for WHAT, exactly? — were attributed to Occupy Wall Street protesters by some, possible terrorists by others, but really, they were sponsored by Friends of the High Line, supported in part by public funds. Because the messages were, less terrifyingly, art!

From the Daily News:

Artist Kim Beck, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh who lives part time in New York, chose messages from advertising billboards as cryptic comments on the faltering economy.

The High Line site has more about Beck’s project, “The Sky Is the Limit/NYC”:

Phrases like “Last Chance” or “Now Open” will gradually unfold, and then fade back into the air, inviting viewers to interpret the language in their own unique way. With the current uncertainty in the economy, The Sky Is the Limit/NYC is intended to play upon universal longings for hope and change by engaging the most potent symbol of longing in the landscape: the sky.

“In the Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West writes ‘Surrender Dorothy’ in the sky,” says Beck. “The Sky is the Limit/NYC echoes this vague threat, in this case of a double-dip recession, while using the media of smoke to create a drawing in the sky.”

Beck had not planned to imply terrorism, also frequently known as a “vague threat,” with her project. If you were scared, she is probably very sorry. Of course, the countering viewpoint is this:

Archive Highlights