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Friday, June 15, 2012

Joe Mangrum's Sidewalk Sand Art

Have you ever done that craftsy art project where you pour different colored sand into a transparent plastic cup or glass bottle and then poke along the inside edges to create a kind of terrarium landscape design?

Last week I went to the Museum of Art and Design in New York City to meet my friend for a lunch date. Lunch had to wait as I had to stop and stare at Joe Mangrum's artwork in progress using colored sand on the sidewalk. The colors really show up against the grey of the pavement. It's a grit against grit kind of feel but with color!

He poured, drew, and changed colors with the sand creating brilliant symmetrical designs. It was so fun to see in action, I wanted to share this video:

This was in the heart of Manhattan, at Columbus Circle, 57th Street. As you can see, pedestrians walked right over Joe's piece. For me, this only added to the intrigue. It became a kind of performance that engaged people to look as they walked through. They became part of the work that changed as Joe poured the colors and they shifted the design with their footsteps. I love that visceral idea of walking in the colors -- of being bodily involved with art.

The fact of our impermanence is beautifully engaged for me here as well. Everything changes! But for now we are here, free to drink in color, human interaction, and art.

Turns out Joe is a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago. He says his goal is to bring art to people and out of museums -- to inspire them and delight them in a non-intimidating way. Way to go, Joe!