Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Painting Done

Big Meadow is complete. I will post pics when I have them. As far as the Big Meadow series of videos, we kind of abandoned that after a while. It was getting a little tedious and distracting to keep working for the camera. Some of the areas were too detailed and the work was progressing too slowly for it to be an interesting video. The final sitting, however was pretty active, so too bad I didn't have the camera out, and the painting is much looser and more expressive than my usual realism work. I expect the rest of the series to be similar. Maybe I'll have photos to post this weekend.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Most Valuable Wasteland In The World

Monumental Meadows was a series of 9 articles over 9 weeks published by John T. Cunningham in the Newark Sunday News in 1959 [view PDF here]. The ideas laid out in my proposal about the push for reclamation, the proximity of The Meadowlands to New York City and New Jersey's industrial base, the high demand for usable real estate in the region, the obstacles faced by builders and engineers, the folklore and stigma of the meadows, etc. are all pretty consistent with much of what Cunningham wrote about 50 years ago. Maybe I'm not so crazy after all.

Something that I didn't explore and maybe should have was cost. Any project in this area is going to cost a shitload of money, and we all know that money doesn't grow on trees. Fill, pilings, labor, all of these things are needed on a massive scale just to erect a single building when the bedrock is 120 feet below the surface. Even the Egyptians knew that they needed unpaid slaves to build the pyramids without going broke.

I've been told that The Meadowlands is a place "where dreams go to die." The Swartwouts went broke. According to Cunningham, "if words were dollars, the meadows would have been reclaimed long ago." The 40's and 50's were times of big dreaming in the Jersey Meadows, when total reclamation was a reasonable goal, and only a fraction of that has come to fruition. As with most Big Ideas, the line of demarcation between dreams and reality is a wall of impasse made of money.