The Art that is New York City

December 18th, 2011

Careful where you sit

Posted by Spencer Kim in Kim, Reviews    

After visiting the Fluxus Gallery and BAM, attending more traditional art performances, namely the Tokyo String Quartet and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, was a treat in itself. The familiar harmonies of stringed, wind, and percussion instruments were a welcome change from the funky, bizarre, and abstract cacophonies at BAM and the Fluxus Gallery. The Tokyo String Quartet and Orchestre Revolutionnaire performances were beautiful and enthralling, drawing in audiences with masterful musical techniques and graceful interpretations of pieces. The music selection ranged from Beethoven to Bartók, from the conventional to the more revolutionary. Each venue offered its own “flavor,” shaping the audience’s experience of the performances through the space in which the pieces were performed.

The 92nd Street YMCA offered the most intimacy without discomfort. The Tokyo String Quartet performance was far more intimate than the Carnegie Hall performance as it the 92nd Street theatre was a small auditorium with wide aisles, low seats, and a large stage. Being a small auditorium with spacious seats close to the stage, the 92nd Street YMCA allowed for its audience get close to the performers, not to one another. On the other hand, the Carnegie Hall auditorium offered little in terms of personal space as well as a view.  Unlike the 92nd Street YMCA, the seats were dense and far from the performers.

Proximity to the stage plays a critical role in the experience of watching a performance. The close distance at the YMCA allowed for the audience to view the performers’ actions and techniques, adding an extra dimension to the performance. While the acoustics at Carnegie Hall were fantastic, the distance of the nosebleed seats from the stage detracted from my overall enjoyment of the experience.

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