What was once a post office in a quiet corner of Rockefeller Center is now a portal to another universe of contorted seesaws, chain link chairs, collaged anatomies, and visualized soundwaves. Roving, Mexico City-based gallery MASA Galería has come to Midtown Manhattan with Intervención/Intersección, an exhibition featuring 60 works from 20 Mexican and Mexico-based artists, designers, and architects. The show first opened in early May. Now in early June, the show is winding down, with pieces still be on view until June 24th.
Some of the show can be spotted when entering the Center Plaza from 49th and 50th Streets: On the end closest to 49th Street is a cluster of heavy-looking onyx and marble Acapulco Chairs by Maro García Torres. According to the caption on a nearby plaque, the chairs invite guests to connect with the artist’s “longstanding investigation of anonymous moments and ‘minor histories.’” On a busy summer weekend, Torres’s chairs have become extra available seating real estate for tourists to sprawl across. There’s another cluster of sittable sculptures on the end of the plaza closest to 50th Street, this time by Mexico City-based design design agency EWE Studio and in green onyx. Torres’s and EWE Studio’s pieces flank Alma Allen’s great bronze sculpture; between its central location and leaning posture, Allen’s sculpture seems to mimic the iconic golden statue of Prometheus on the rink level directly below.
The main part of Intervención/Intersección is indoors on the rink-level, in the post office-turned-gallery space. Visitors can scan a QR code at the entrance to read about each of the pieces. Printed on the wall facing the entrance is a list of participating artists and information about the gallery show and on an adjacent wall, a statement by Mexico City-based writer and curator Su Wu, who assembled the group show.
“MASA retrieves and returns an itinerant sense of history to three sites at Rockefeller Center… Intervención/Intersección extends the Mexico City-based exhibition platform’s (MASA’s) commitment to design at its boundaries, highlighting the often hidden obsessions, private liaisons, and modes of survival that can compel creation and give objects form,” Wu wrote.
The gallery show meanders through two main rooms; along the way, visitors encounter bright red concrete chairs by Pedro Reyes, linen lamps by Marrow, and curious stitched ceramic pieces by Panorammma. Bronze stools by EWE Studio illuminated with brass light fixtures by Héctor Esrawe, sit inside a cage–the cage doesn’t appear to be a part of the installation, but the choice to place the pieces inside is a provocative one, to say the least.
Intervención/Intersección has a transformative quality on the space it inhabits—the industrial, yellow lighting illuminating the backrooms of Rockefeller Center now exudes a certain warmth. The bathrooms located in the back of the gallery, which presumably were used by the former post office workers (their lockers are still there too), have been labeled “Damas” and “Caballeros” in loopy pink cursive–a fitting touch.
“The space feels kind of strange… in a good way. It’s a kind of transportation to a different world,” explained MASA cofounder Brian Thoreen in a guide provided by The Rockefeller Center.
More information about each piece can be found here.