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‘Art Frenzy’ offered much to see and do

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"Where's all the frenzy?" the writer wondered as she entered little Court Square Park last Sunday.

She expected to see the place filled with artists, musicians, jugglers, and hustlers of all kinds. What she saw were mostly empty display tables, though the folks from the Greek Cultural Center, LaGuardia Community College and the Rockaway Artists Alliance were in attendance.

Then she realized that the real action was happening all over Long Island City, Astoria and Sunnyside, and that she had to get on a shuttle bus to get to it.

Three shuttle buses had been touring all weekend. One took you to the Kaufman Astoria Studios down the street for the film festival, which that afternoon was showing "Astoria," "Synthetic Pleasures," "An Autumn Wind," "To Go Unnoticed," and "The Flicker," with a meet-and-greet with the directors afterwards. A red shuttle took you to Roosevelt Island, and a purple shuttle took you to the open galleries of artists around the neighborhood. Since she'd never been to Roosevelt Island before, the writer got on the red shuttle.

"We have one more, we have one more!" the lady who registered the passengers kept chirping at the driver, but finally we were off, clutching our Art Loop Maps and shuttle route schedules, our hands stamped with the words Art Frenzy so we could get on and off the buses with impunity.

Our bus beetled past the imposing green-glass Citigroup building, and the grove of birch trees to P.S. 1, the first stop.

The writer had always thought this place was an elementary school, but the P.S. stands for Public Space, and exhibited within were several mixed media works, including the Cuban artist collaborative Los Carpinteros and their "Transportable City" of portable tents, Carla Accardi's "Triple Tent," Miri

Segal's surreal video works, and Special Projects Summer 2001, created by another collaboration of artists.

After that we were driven to the Long Island City Industrial Park, a fascinatingly ugly part of Queens; under cold, cloudy skies the nabe looks truly Depression era. We arrived at the Wills Art

Deco Building then continued to the gallery at 43rd Avenue and 10th Street, which displayed the abstract mixed media works of Seena Donneson.

From there we proceeded under the rusty lacework of the Queensborough bridge, past Queensbridge Park and the Keyspan power station. The bus then crossed the Roosevelt Island Bridge to the Roosevelt Island Art Association. We then looped around and returned to the mainland, past Rainey Park with its beautiful views of Manhattan and the East River, and to the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum. This museum, another unsung treasure in the borough, has 250 works of stone, bronze and wood, models for public projects and gardens and beautiful, glowing Akari light sculptures made by the legendary sculptor. Close by was Krypton Neon, a gallery specializing in cool neon art.

We then traveled on to the Socrates Sculpture Park, which had been a dump until a group of artists led by Mark di Suvero turned it into a neighborhood park and an exhibition space where artists can exhibit large-scale works; there was a work the size and shape of an African kopje when we arrived. Nearby were the Reiman Studios and 12th Street Studios, which featured the oil paintings of Karen Fitzgerald.

After this the bus returned to Court Square and the Holocenter exhibit, which featured holographic art..

Art Frenzy, which heralded the arrival of Queens as a happening place for art, music and performance, was presented by the Queens Council on the Arts and the Long Island Business Development Corporation.

Reach Qguide writer Arlene McKanic by e-mail at timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 139.

Updated 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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