Chapter One of “The American Manifest” Open Now in Times Square
Aug 2, 2022 11:09 am
In July 2022, Governors Island Arts, Times Square Arts, and Creative Time jointly announced the first public art exhibition by Charles Gaines, The American Manifest. This sweeping installation will take place in three parts in three different locations over the course of three years — Times Square, Governors Island, and Cincinnati.
Chapter One debuted on July 13 in Times Square with two performances of Gaines’ Manifestos 4: The Dred and Harriet Scott Decision. The performance was a musical interpretation of the original text of the 1857 U.S. Supreme Court case of Dred Scott vs. Sanford, and was performed with a woodwind quintet, piano, and tenor. The performance built upon the artist’s Manifestos series, in which Gaines disarms and draws upon historical texts, uniting the rational, mathematical, and lyrical structures of music with the irrationality of violence, racial tensions, and social injustice.
Read the text featured in the performance here, and read the full speech by Frederick Douglass in response to the decision — which was sung by tenor Darian Clonts as the final part of each performance—here.
Roots, Chapter One’s sculptural installation, also opened on July 13, and will be on view in Times Square through September 23. It features seven painted American Sweetgum trees, which historically grew in what is now Times Square, with their roots up to give the piece a surreal and dystopian feel.
Looking ahead, Chapter Two of The American Manifest will come to Governors Island in October 2022. Located at the base of Outlook Hill, Moving Chains will feature a large kinetic sculpture installation composed of nine chains. Eight of the chains will be move at the pace of New York Harbor’s currents, while the ninth will move at the speed of the many ships that have passed through the harbor throughout history. Moving Chains illuminates the exchange of people, capital, and goods cycling between the north and south that made up the slave trade, while calling attention to the political, judicial, and economic operations established in this country’s foundational financial system. Chapter Two will also include free public programming on Governors Island related to the piece, stay tuned for announcements and updates.
Click here to learn more about The American Manifest.