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Thirteen Portals to Art

IMG_9110Dana VarinskyArtists Nicolina Johnson and Perola Bonfanti at “Portal 0”

Two abandoned doorways got a touch up this week, thanks to artists Nicolina Johnson and Perola Bonfanti.

The artists told The Local that the new installations at Avenue C and Seventh Street, and Second Ave and Third Street, are the first of a series of thirteen interactive “portals” that will be completed this summer. The portals will be numbered starting from zero, with each painted according to the numerology symbols associated with its number.

A QR code painted on the bottom of every portal directs the participant to the project’s website, which requires answers to riddles in order to move on to the next portal. The link for “Portal One” asks, “the more you look at me, the less you see. Who am I?”

IMG_9106Dana Varinsky“Portal 0”

“When you get through the final portal, the 13th portal, the mystery will be revealed,” Ms. Johnson said. “We think it will be well worth the effort.” Those without a smart phone will also be able to participate via the project’s website, which will be incorporated into the art in each panel.

Ms. Johnson is the creator of The Bean’s window art, so she said the location of “Portal 0” over an abandoned elevator shaft outside the café was an easy choice. The three panel doorway is painted with Babylonian images, and the circular zero figure represents a particle accelerator. “It mixes the newest science and the oldest civilizations,” Ms. Bonfanti explained. Read more…

Photos: Tea Partiers Have Gay Old Time

Photos: Tim Schreier
.Tim Schreier Nicolina Johnson

No, not that Tea Party, silly.

Hot on the heels of Saturday’s Halloween Dog Parade, the Mad Hatter Tea Party brought psychedelic costumes, stilt walkers, and free cookies to Tompkins Square Park.

Nicolina Johnson, the event’s main organizer along with The Free Art Society, said the annual event has doubled in size since it started three years ago. “The mission is to completely blur the line between spectator and performer, and bring people in to this world of magic and merriment that’s around them all the time,” said the artist. She and other organizers made extra hats in case people wandering by without a costume wanted to join in.

The crowd included people of all ages and hats of all sizes: Jillian Kimberling, 11, danced with her parents and younger sister. “It’s really cool. I really like all the costumes and the live music, and there are actually people portraying the real characters of Alice in Wonderland,” she said. Indeed the Mad Hatter and the March Hare started things off, and soon a six-person caterpillar began to wind its way through the crowd. The Queen of Hearts circulated authoritatively, stilt walkers danced, and an executioner dragged voluntary prisoners around behind her on leather ropes. Read more…