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Exhibition design for the Museum of the City of New York

PROJECT TITLE: MANHATTAN NOON . CLIENT: MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK . YEAR: 2007/2008
DESIGNED AT BUCHANAN-SMITH LLC . ART DIRECTION: PETER BUCHANAN-SMITH



— EXHIBITION ENTRANCE —

Manhattan Noon was an exhibition held at the Museum of the City of New York in winter 2007/2008. The exhibition presents the works of two New York City artists from two different eras, both connected by a shared concern: New York City’s streets at noon. Photographs by Gus Powell depicting the city’s contemporary noontime street life are paired with poems by Frank O’Hara about lunch hour in mid-twentieth century New York.




— GALLERY WALL —

Instead of displaying O’Hara’s poems as graphics on the museum walls, copies of the poems are printed on half-letter size sheets of paper and affixed to the walls. Visitors are free to tear out sheets of O’Hara’s poems from the walls to take with them and keep as mementos of the exhibition. This act of tearing out sheets from the walls can be seen as analogous to the act of tearing out tabs from street flyers or receiving handbills from handbill passers. The design scheme for displaying O’Hara’s poems, then, does double duty as a conceptual device that reinforces the exhibition's “street life” theme.




— “THE DAY LADY DIED” POEM PAD (DETAILS) —





— GALLERY WALLS —

A clock (which displays the actual time), reminiscent of clocks found in mid-twentieth century offices (the world in which O’Hara composed his lunch poems), hanging at the entrance to the exhibition relays a constant visual reminder of the role of time in the exhibited artworks. By placing the artworks in the context of real time, the exhibition acquires different meanings depending on the time of the day it is viewed. A noontime viewing, for instance, infuses the exhibition with a particular meaning as the artworks are being viewed at the exact same time of the day when the artworks were created — what the museum visitors are seeing and reading in the exhibition is actually happening on the streets outside the museum at that exact same moment.




— CLOCK AND ENTRANCE WALL GRAPHICS DETAIL —



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