Friday, May 30, 2014

A Mercantile Novel - FREE Art Exhibit in New York City

The other day during my lunch break, I took a little jaunt to a free art exhibit at the David Zwirner Gallery in New York City. The current exhibit from artist Oscar Murillo is a candy-making factory in collaboration with Colombina, one of the premier food companies in Colombia. The exhibit runs through June 14, 2014.

What initially attracted me to this exhibit was not just that it was free, but also that during the course of the exhibit, tens of thousands of chocolate-covered marshmallows are being produced and given away for free at the gallery.

Free chocolate? You had me at ... oh wait, I can't talk anymore. My mouth is stuffed with marshmallows.

One of the main exporters of candy to the United States, Colombina was founded in the artist's hometown of La Paila in the early twentieth century. It became a connecting link in the surrounding area, fostering a community that expanded as the factory grew. Members of Murillo's own family have worked at Colombina in various capacities.

The purpose of the exhibit, as the press release states, is to explore not only trade and globalization, but also relationships and communities, roots and immigration.

I gotta say, I didn't really get that from the exhibit. It was much smaller than I expected with pretty much no information posted anywhere about the factory or how it affected the artist's life. Unless you read the press release beforehand (from the website here), you have no idea what you're walking into.

I only knew about this exhibit because I got an email from Red Tricycle alerting me to fun and free things to do with kids in NYC. (I know. I don't have kids, so why am I subscribed to Red Tricycle emails? I entered a contest to win money and didn't win, obviously, but am too lazy to unsubscribe.)

Would I recommend this for kids? Probably not. They won't really get anything out of it, aside from chocolate-covered marshmallows, which were delicious, by the way. And parents who are concerned about their child's sugar intake might have a hard time keeping their kids' grabby hands out of the marshmallow bin.

Also, the actual candy factory itself isn't even in plain view of visitors. You have to peek through stacks of boxes to see the factory workers. I wasn't even sure if they were really making the candies or if the candies were made by Colombina, shipped here, and only packaged at this exhibit. Red Tricycle made it sound like this was a real-live Willy Wonka thing, but it's most certainly not.

Would I recommend adults visit? If you work in the area and need a way to kill some time during your lunch break or are a tourist visiting the High Line (the gallery is near the 18th street High Line entrance/exit), it doesn't make sense to pass up the opportunity to grab some free candy and attempt to sneak a peek at the factory workers.

But don't expect anything life-changing.

Well, maybe the chocolate could be considered that.

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