Every morning for several months, I get out of the Canal Street 1 stop and I walked past a fenced in area between Canal and Grand. I was curious about what was brewing behind those closed fences but I could never quite get a good look. Then a few weeks ago the fences came down to reveal… junk, or stuff, or art or something. I couldn’t quite figure it out. It clearly had to be some kind of art installation because it was too weird to simply be a park.
Turns out, the space is intended to contain art. It’s a temporary art installation called Lent Space. According to their website “the space will serve as an exhibition space for large sculptures, an event space and public space as well as a tree nursery. When Lent Space closes, the trees grown on the site will migrate to the streets of the surrounding neighborhood, turning into street trees for the emerging Hudson Square BID.”
It includes planters (so it’s kind of like a park), weird ladders stuck in the ground going nowhere and some inexplicable rotating wall pieces with what look like thousands of dog tags hanging from them. Now I’m no art critic so maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about but I don’t get it. This doesn’t feel like art to me. I don’t see the statement. All I see is wasted time and energy building out an art exhibit that could have been a wonderful park where all the people who work in Tribecca and Soho could have sat and enjoyed themselves. Instead we have to awkwardly maneuver our way through this strange art exhibit wondering whether New York City spent tax dollars on this. I suppose the fact that it’s temporary makes me feel a little bit better but I would have preferred they skipped the art installation part and went straight for the trees.