Now Blooming on the Beach

Will Ryman's 65th Street at Art Basel Miami, Sagamore Hotel beachfront, Miami Beach. Photo by Didier Leroi for VernissageTV. (Used by permission.)

We’ve posted a few times about Will Ryman’s 58th Street currently on view just outside the Phillips. Though it currently resides at the corner of 21st and Q Streets, the sculpture is named for the cross street on New York’s Park Avenue where it debuted earlier this year. Ryman’s 65th Street is now in bloom more than the few blocks away its title suggests. It adorns the beach in a special Art Basel Miami installation through December 4. Take a look at it in the Post‘s slideshow of some of the festival’s most intriguing art.

“Hello, may I speak to Will Ryman?”

Will Ryman (far right) oversees installation of 58th Street, August 1, 2011. Photo: Amy Wike

One of the perks of working in a museum is that you get to talk to the curators, and occasionally the artists, who create the exhibitions. So it had never crossed my mind to try our Guide by Cell, since I actually got to meet Will Ryman when he came to install his work 58th Street. But walking back from lunch today I passed those (ominous? fanciful?) oversized blossoms and bugs at the corner of 21st and Q and stopped to call the number listed below the work. What would I hear? Well, I heard Will Ryman. I have to say, it was kind of a neat sensation, standing there on the sidewalk in front of his sculpture, looking directly in to one of the giant blooming roses and feeling like I had just rung up the artist to ask, “Hey, can you tell me about this thing?” And he did.

You can call Guide by Cell stops even if you’re not at the museum. To learn more from Ryman about his sculpture, call 202-595-1839, 40#.

Experimentation from a Magician’s Point of View

Magician David London. Photo: Philip Laubner

I was honored when The Phillips Collection asked me to perform as part of the 90th Anniversary-themed Phillips after 5 event this Thursday, November 3. Part of the mission of the Phillips, as set forth by its founder Duncan Phillips nearly a century ago, was to be an “experiment station.” It is in this spirit of experimentation that I was invited to participate.

In both my magic and my life, experimentation has always been a priority. Experimentation demands generating new thoughts, ideas, and possibilities, and believing in them enough to see them into reality. It requires taking risks and being prepared to succeed while remaining willing to fail.

I have often been classified as an “experimental magician.” Experimental is a strange classification. Although I believe that all traits associated with the label are ultimately positive, sometimes fear emerges from the fact that instilled in all experimental ideas and actions is the inherent refusal to accept what is already known or be satisfied with what has been done in the past.

Our cultural evolution as a species can be tied directly to experimentation and the revolutionary ideas and progress it spawned. But experimentation is not limited to artists, scientists, philosophers, and innovators. It is part of daily life, as we each regularly seek the new, test it out, and see what happens. To some degree, experimentation and life itself are synonymous.

On Thursday evening, I will present “Wandering Wonders” throughout the museum, as well as a 45 minute show in the auditorium at 7 pm. I hope we can embrace this opportunity to be reminded that experimentation is all around us, and that we are all experimenters, constantly playing, testing, and trying new possibilities to form our own realities. And what greater cause for celebration than that?

David London, magician