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Park Avenue Armory's The Event of a Thread (slide show)

Families can roam through a field of swings at artist Ann Hamilton's exhibit at the Park Avenue Armory. Plus: Read what kids thought of the installation.

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

  • Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson


The latest large scale exhibit to open at the Park Avenue Armory—Ann Hamilton's the Event of a Thread—is a visceral and dream-like installation made up of draped fabric interconnected with dozens of swings. This exhibition, which creates an interactive playground, is constructed by referencing the expansive architecture of the armory—on one end, ropes connected to the ceiling dangle a massive white sheet which ripples like waves, while large swings hang from the other. Visitors of all ages are invited to try out the swings (they're big enough to fit two)—kids and parents can swing at high speed or at a tranquil pace. Performers dressed in heavy coats are also on hand; they read aloud from long scrolls of text at a table with cages of pigeons surrounding them. (Each swing has a brown bag bound with string with a radio playing the performers' murmured voices, which visitors can hear as they begin to swing.) We visited last weekend during a special family workshop and asked city kids thought about the exhibit; read on to hear their opinions.

Sam, 8: "I think it's really amazing how the artist put this together and how the strings didn't get tangled. I love swings, whenever I go to the playground the first thing I do is go to the swings. It's quiet and more relaxing here than a regular playground. These swings are the best kind that I've ever been on and I'm not saying that to make the artist feel good but because they really are."

Nova, 7: "It's really fun because the swings go really high and they are really long. It feels calm and like I'm flying."

Luna, 6: "I've been to the Armory about a hundred times but this is my favorite [exhibit]. I think the pigeons are here because in older times when you would write letters pigeons were used to pass them to another person. It's connected because it brings people together—like the swings are literally connected through the curtain to work together and the communication between the pigeons also brings people together."

Emma, 9: "I think it's really cool because it's all about about cause and effect. If one swing pushes, the other swings pulls on the other side. And the change on the top of the  swings goes with the curtain that goes up and down. It makes me feel kind of calm when you watch them."

Quin, 6: "I liked the white pigeons and I liked painting. The exhibit was good."

Alexandra, 7: "[The exhibit] was dreamy because there was lots of noises and before I thought I was in a dream. I was on a swing and I wanted to stay more. It must have been the artist's dream. [Performers with coats] looked like they were from Antarctica or from a long time ago."

Owen, 9: "I liked how the swings moved up and down when you stood under it and moved back and forth and waved around. It was really cool. It was like a breeze or an ocean. I also liked how they had pigeons and would let them go."

Genevieve, 7: "I liked being on the swings. It felt like you were flying through the air and making the curtain move."

"The Event of a Thread" is on view at the Park Avenue Armory through Sunday, January 6.


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