New York Live Arts' Ford Foundation Live Gallery is currently featuring CROWD (for Bill T. Jones), a commissioned, site-specific work by artist Donald Baechler. Before Live Arts visitors enter the theater and third floor studio space, they will encounter Baechler's monumental mural. A large-scale paper collage constructed directly on the wall, the work is on view now through January 2013. Members of the press are invited to the view the work at an opening reception on Tuesday, September 18th, 6:30 – 7:30PM. New York Live Arts' 2012-13 presenting season opens the same night, starting at 7:30pm, with Voices of Strength: Dance and Theater by Women from Africa.
Baechler's mural at New York Live Arts is a continuation of a series of works on paper in the CROWD series that he began creating in the late 1990s. For many years Baechler has been building a very personal image archive, incorporating his own drawings along with found imagery and images created specifically for him. An essential part of his compositional process has been to select precisely the right image out of the many thousands of possibilities he has on hand and incorporate this image into a larger pictorial field.
"The mural draws from my earlier series of CROWD paintings and prints, and incorporates many new drawings from my more current vocabulary of images," explained Baechler. "When I first saw the lobby space, my initial impulse for the New York Live Arts gallery wall was to supersize one of my CROWD compositions, and the challenge was how to proceed given the added complexities of working on location. I'm delighted with the results!"
Like wallpaper, the mural adheres directly to the surface of the wall, and covers the entire south-facing wall of the gallery. The artist designed this configuration of the mural specifically for the Ford Foundation Live Gallery. The width and height of the wall allowed Baechler to scale the mural to a colossal size-it measures more than 31 feet wide and over 10 feet high-the largest he has ever made. The effect is to transform the space and create an immersive environment.