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Pumping for oil in Manhattan

March 8, 2012 2:42:17 PM PST
Why are oil pumps jacks, 25 feet tall and each made of 3 tons of steel, in the midst of Manhattan and one block from Times Square?

"I really want people to have this sort of second guess moment they come here and they're not sure what they're looking at," Josephine Meckseper said.

What's going on is an art installation by Meckseper. She's transformed a vacant lot at the corner of 46th Street and 8th Avenue into an oil field, like those she saw in Electra, Texas.

The Manhattan Oil Project was made possible by the Art Production Fund. While the pumps are powered thanks to the Playwrights Pub, they're not really digging.

"I thought it was important to show art that has the relationship to reality in this case it's the conflict we're facing with natural resources," she said. "The critical placement of the pumps is a conceptual gesture that raises questions about business and capital; land use and resources; wealth and decay; decadence and dependence."

The Manhattan Oil Project can be seen until early May.

For more information, please visit http://artproductionfund.org/meckseper.html and http://www.timessquarenyc.org/times-square-arts/current-upcoming/josephine-meckseper-manhattan-oil-project/index.aspx.

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