Ruckus Manhattan

Red Grooms, Mimi Cross
and The Ruckus Construction Company

November - December, 1975
88 Pine Street
Photo © 1975 Robert Mates

With Ruckus Works Company, Grooms' assistants, 88 Pine St. provided two pedestrian plazas and two access ways to the Second Avenue Subway for display of his work. A multi-media, 3-dimensional out of scale model of Manhattan island was entered by walking over a rocking model of the Staten Island Ferry and through a transparency of Manhattan's skyline as seen from Brooklyn. The piece included horse-drawn carts, taxis, buses, life-sized wooden figures of pedestrians, 125th street, rivers, parts of central park, the Apollo Theatre, Brooklyn Bridge, Chase Manhattan building, Chrysler building, 88 Pine St., Federal Reserve Bank, Fulton Fish Market, City Hall interior, 42nd St. interior, NYT interior, interior and exterior of Woolworth's, Stock Exchange floor, Trinity Church, and the World Trade Center with plaza and PATH tubes. Manhattan was reconstructed to conform to the city's psychic dimensions rather than its physical ones. Grooms visited Sail and decided he wanted to create this project in the same space on Pine St. The project, on view from May to November 1975, was made of paper mache, wood, plastic, fiberglass, and vinyl. Each artist contributed to the overall vision through their own painting. Mimi Grooms sketched people who were watching the construction from the other side of the glass and incorporated them into the work. Grooms pays homage to Cubism by bisecting space, revealing multiple views of the same object, and disproportionate scale. The overriding influence is doubtlessly the comics - from the humor of the Sunday funnies to the bite of political cartoons. Those who experienced Ruckus Manhattan, a city within a city, witnessed a reflection of themselves and their environment. People can be taken out of their routine by encountering something different or by seeing themselves in a mirror that exaggerates their everyday experience...Grooms' acute satire also provoked serious thought about one's own personal environment.

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