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Monday, August 30, 2010

Stealing Glimpses of Nara

The Rule: No Shirt, No Shoes, No Nara.

New York, August 25 – Yoshitomo Nara (奈良 美智) held a five day open studio for the reconstruction of his large-scale installation Home. It was a jointly sponsored event by the Park Avenue Armory and the Asia Society Museum. The reconstruction site was located at the Wade Thompson Drill Hall of the Park Avenue Armory.

The armory was being heavily renovated, and the guests had to have to follow strict rules. The first requirement was a dress code. Everyone had to wear closed toe shoes and sleeved shirts. The construction site also issued hard hats to guests, and they had to be worn. This is clearly a safety guideline. The second rule was no photography. No photography?

Guests with Hard Hats.

When I saw the “no photography” sign at the entrance of the drill hall, I asked one of the staffers about it. He said, “There is no photography inside.” For the sake of clarification, I also asked about the photography policy in the outer foyer area near the front door. He replied that, “It’s okay out here.”

Nara's Makeshift Studio. [Click for higher resolution]
Based on his answer, I began taking photographs of Nara’s studio from the foyer area. The makeshift studio was near the door but partial obscured by the position of the entrance. After taking several pictures, the head of building security rudely stepped into my line of sight and said, “No photography!” I tried to explain that I was following the instructions given by the staffer. He wasn’t listening. I decided to stop taking pictures because I’m not going to fight the security guards. I’m not paparazzi.

I walked into the hall and looked at some of Nara’s sketches. They were interesting with a lot of religious references. He also had an dismantled electric guitar on his work table. Interesting... The artist was noticeably missing from the open studio.

Then I walked over to a little area with the partially completed installation. It was pretty cool. What a shame... I could have created a time lapse of Nara’s progress and posted it as a photo essay. It would have been awesome.

At one point, I saw Nara walking into the hall. He briefly peered into his studio space and quickly walked out. I guess he wasn’t feeling it either.

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