I tripped across an article from The Gothamist today, about Katharina Grosse…
who unveiled an installation called ‘Rockaway!”: a decaying Fort Tilden military building transformed by layers of white, red, and magenta paint. The abandoned beachside structure will be torn down later this year, but it’s ending its days in a bright flash of raucous color inspired by the Rockaway sunset.
To back up a bit, a history of Fort Tilden written by The National Park Service page on the Fort:
The Rockaway peninsula’s first fortification came much earlier than Fort Tilden. Records indicate that a blockhouse was constructed during the War of 1812. This represented the 2nd system of defense.
It was not until over a century later that fortifications once again took shape on the peninsula. A large parcel of land was purchased that bordered the land already being used by the Treasury Department as a Coast Guard Station. On August 1, 1917 Fort Tilden was officially named for former New York Governor, Samuel J. Tilden.
The building and fortification construction began 1917. The emergency fortifications being built for World War I represented the Taft system of defense.
From the end of World War I through the 1930s, Fort Tilden was occupied only by a caretaker detachment.
A building construction period began in mid-1930s with the Works Progress Administration (WPA) completing many buildings. World War II began in Europe in 1939 and troops arrived at Fort Tilden in 1941. Approximately ninety new buildings were constructed for the war effort.
Katharina transformed the abandoned building, splashes of reds that at first I thought was really hideous – like what a way to ruin the building and the poor Tilden family members still alive have to see this??
But then I watched the YT video and I saw the work in a whole new light. Her approach is fascinating, her concept and thought process ring true. So maybe it’s not for everyone but at least now I get where she was going and don’t find it objectionable anymore. I came around to calling it art.
If nothing else, before the building gets torn down, Fort Tilden will stand in some more glory than it did covered in graffiti and falling down.
Do I hear Yay or Nay?