Spencer Finch, The River That Flows Both Ways, rendering, 2007

The River That Flows Both Ways

Creative Time, Friends of the High Line, and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation are pleased to announce the inaugural art commission by Spencer Finch now open on the first section of the High Line as a public park.

Inspired by the Hudson River, The River That Flows Both Ways documents a 700-minute (11 hours, 40 minutes) journey on the river in a single day. The title is a translation of Muhheakantuck, the Native American name for the Hudson that refers to the river’s natural flow in two directions. Like the rail line that existed on the High Line, the Hudson River was, and still is, an active route for the transportation of goods into Manhattan. The river and the High Line have always been linked in their geography, their function, and their imprints on the industrial legacy of the city.

On June 12, 2008, from a tugboat drifting on Manhattan’s west side and past the High Line, Finch photographed the river’s surface once every minute. The color of each pane of glass was based on a single pixel point in each photograph and arranged chronologically in the tunnel’s existing steel mullions. Time is translated into a grid, reading from left to right and top to bottom, capturing the varied reflective and translucent conditions of the water’s surface. The work, like the river, is experienced differently depending on the light levels and atmospheric conditions of the site. In this narrative orientation, the glass reveals Finch’s impossible quest for the color of water.

Spencer Finch will be included in the 53rd Venice Biennale, in the Arsenale this summer. This is his first major public project in New York City.