March 30, 2006

metro_mall.jpgToday’s New York Times brings us the story of Jacques Vidal, an artist who is organizing what he calls a “surrealist county fair” in the Metro Mall in Middle VIllage, Queens. The fair, which takes place April 1, will feature a “chewing gum brain,” erupting volcanoes a la the second grade, and posters and sculptures, all in an “absurd space where all is equal.”

He later said, “The final product will be among the most confusing and jarring public art events in recent memory placed in the context of a forgotten Queens relic.” The exhibit will take place at a food court where all but one restaurant has closed. A partly lighted sign advertises Weight Watchers. Near a GNC and Sam Goody (“Store closing, entire store on sale!”), a cardboard Statue of Liberty beckons one past a storefront dentist to Liberty Tax. A photo booth waits. There is the sweet scent of Subway bread baking.

The story is illustrated with a photostrip of Vidal held in front his face, taken by James Estrin for the New York Times. We hope the organizers are aware of the power the photobooth held for the Surrealists; they can read all about it in this 2004 Guardian article.

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