'The curse of bigness' – QNS.com

‘The curse of bigness’

The current exhibition at the Queens Museum of Art (QMA) brings together a variety of artists to display works that are about being small and large at the same time.

“The Curse of Bigness” opened in May and will be on display through October 3.

“It’s a whole lot of ideas hitting the fan, in some ways,” curator Larissa Harris said of the exhibition concept.

Harris had been thinking about the museum’s expansion, which, when completed, will add 50,000 square feet to QMA. In addition, while thinking about the financial crisis and reading to educate herself more about it, Harris came across a 1914 writing by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis where he used the phrase “the curse of bigness.”

“That phrase, to me, seemed to apply to all kinds of things,” Harris said.

Harris also said that amazement, wonderment and playfulness are part of the exhibit.

All of the works in the exhibition deal with being two things at the same time. For instance, Great Small Works’ “The Toy Theater of Terror” uses small scenes to recreate larger events.

The models that QMA has from the World’s Fair were also a source of inspiration for “The Curse of Bigness.” Harris noted that models are designed to represent something but, at the same time, they are not the thing itself. Also, even though they are small representations of something larger, such as the New York City Panorama, they are still large themselves.

The museum itself also became part of the exhibition. Designers Dexter Sinister created a new font as part of the exhibit. It has been used on all of the signs throughout the museum.

In another piece, “HumanUfactor Y” by artist/fashion designer J. Morgan Puett, part of the museum is turned into a working studio. Visitors not only see what Harris described as almost a self-portrait of Puett, but on some days they can actually see her working. Because of this, Harris pointed out that there is an element of the exhibit being alive.

Another focus of the exhibition is “making things out of what’s right in front of you,” Harris noted. Hiroshi Sunbird created a life sized fallen elephant out of tree branches. He worked with the Parks Department to get pruned tree branches from local parks, including Cunningham Park.

“The Curse of Bigness includes seven artists and three collaboratives, most of which are from the New York City area. As a curator, Harris said that she is always looking for artist whose ideas and artwork help push ideas forward in different ways.

The Queens Museum of Art is located in the New York City Building in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. It is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. On Fridays in July and August, it is open from noon to 8 p.m.

The suggested donation for admission is $5 for adults and $2.50 for seniors and children. It is free for members and children under five.

For more information, visit www.queensmuseum.org or call 718-592-9700.


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