The Bay Area's NPR
(Neighborhood Public Radio
) is currently broadcasting in New York City as part of the Whitney Biennial 2008 and will be there through early June. During this time they are broadcasting, doing live concert events, and holding workshops. For more information check out Neighborhood Public Radio's website
or the Conceptual Art website
I recently visited Lee Montgomery
and Jon Brumit
(pictured L to R holding one of their NPI boxes) to talk about their current exhibit "American Life" on Madison Avenue, a few doors down from the Whitney Museum
Can you explain the set-up in New York City for those you are not able to visit you at this location?
We have a broadcast booth in the front window and the door is unlocked (during all broadcasts) and a signup sheet so that people from the neighborhood or visiting the museum (Whitney) can come in and sign up on the sign up sheet to do a show, tell stories, interview people.
And how many hours a day/week are you broadcasting exactly?
We are broadcasting 24/7, though sometimes it's just the sound of the pedestrian and automotive traffic outside our window. New stuff can be heard Thursday through Sunday. Wednesday we keep office hours, and sometimes use the time to broadcast experimentally and spontaneously
improvisationally or to invite insistent newcomers on the air. You just never know what'll happen.
What is the one thing you would like to get out of the NY installation?
One thing, hmm? I think we never are inclined to be so goal oriented, but I will say that any positive effect we can have on people's attitudes toward ideas of free speech, and any critical stance we can foster towards media analysis will be considered a success. Beyond that, it would be awesome to see new relationships forged between people in the museum, and in the community, and new connections (two
ways) made between average people and the art world.. We love the fact that no one ever has to pay to access our work in this show..even if we are way up on Madison Ave.
How is it going so far and what interesting things have happened or who has shown up to check out the NYC installation?
It's been crazy fun. Of note, we have had a visit from a bitter, fired ex-NPR (National Public Radio)
reporter, a current NPR reporter, a WNYC producer, two National NPR trustees, a woman retired from the National NPR's general counsel's office, Anabella Sciorra
, and the accountant for The Who, The Stones, Monty Python
and Uriah Heap
, and his very dynamic and charming wife. Additionally, we have had students and children from the neighborhood, The Enablers, EDAS, Daniel Goode, Scott Rifkin,
and friends from San Francisco talking with artists in New York and talking about a protest against the Detourned Menu
art show at the ISE in SOHO. The museum has been brilliantly supportive (if sometimes a bit nervous) throughout, and we have been surprised and pleased by the diversity of guests and points of view on display.