This is an archive of the ArtCat Zine, 2007-2009. Please visit our new project, IDIOM.

Falling Tonight: Water


The Public Art Fund throws the switch on Olafur Eliasson's New York Waterfalls tonight. The work consists of four gigantic man-made waterfalls installed along the shores of Brooklyn, Manhattan and Governor's Island. Nothing irks the crotchety corpse of the Protestant ethic quite like a massive public expenditure on art; for months people have been complaining about the cost of the project, and granted, its not cheap. But what's missing in these appraisals, in addition to an understanding of the economic impact of such spectacles, seems to be an appreciation for the idea itself. Eliasson has said that part of his aim was to rekindle New Yorkers' awareness of the giant bodies of water that surround them, which seemed a stretch to me at first until I remembered reading sportswriter Peter King's account of The Gates a few years back, "Saw The Gates... Nice. Unusual. Great to see Central Park so packed with people and transformed into a pretty sight in the middle of a harsh winter. An enjoyable experience. But art? I don't see it."