I took a stroll on the High Line on a cloudy August day after a week on Fire Island. The High Line is an urban greenway — a former elevated freight rail line transformed into a park and trail that runs from the West Village and Meatpacking District through Chelsea, ending beyond Penn Station.
Note the funky sculpture in front of a newish apartment building on the High Line, juxtaposed with some old school graffiti and a dramatic piece political art (more on that below). Funky Chelsea buts heads with the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood and new construction along the High Line. (Or, perhaps more accurately: new, high end gentrification on top of and alongside previous, lower rent (relatively speaking) Chelsea gentrification).
“Blind Idealism is . . .” by renowned artist Barbara Kruger, commissioned by Friends of the High Line.
Kruger is an American artist known for “insistently addressing the issues of power, property, money, race, and sexuality. Over the past three decades her work has ranged from the photographic merging of image and text, to immersive video installations, to room-wrapping textual exhibitions, to large-scale outdoor displays of words and images. Two of her best-known works – Your body is a battleground and I shop therefore I am – also showcase the feminist overtones of her artworks, and her concentration on women as a lucrative site for advertising and consumerism.
The original quote — “Blind idealism is reactionary” — came from Afro-Caribbean philosopher and postcolonial revolutionary thinker Frantz Fanon (1925–61), whom Kruger describes as “prescient in some ways.”