Max Neuhaus, Times Square
You have probably never noticed Max Neuhaus’ permanent installation, “Times Square.” Like me, most New Yorkers avoid the tourist heavy area at all costs. Stand above the grates located the end of the pedestrian island on Broadway between 45th and 46th Streets for a second. The rich harmonic sound you’re hearing isn’t part of the Jumbletron-like ads around you, it is in fact Neuhaus’ sound installation.
Supported by Dia (yay!), the installation became permanent in 2002, after originally operating from 1977 to 1992. It now runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, eminating a ghostly presence amidst the hustle and bustle of people walking around while looking up and therefore crashing into each other or posing with street performers painted silver, or even better Toys R Us or Planet Hollywood.
The installation is site specific, completely inspired by Times Square and will exist only there, but one can imagine the inspiration from the shady strip club laden Times Square of 1977 had a much different context than the Disney World of it today. Neuhaus describes it as “It doesn’t exist in time. I’ve taken sound out of time and made it into an entity.” It is the artist’s only installation in the United States.
And out of time it will continue to haunt tourists as they buy peanuts and I love New York t-shirts. Everyone should experience this installation at least once, my suggestion is to combine it with the magic of Times Square after midnight, when the entire area is eerily vacant, and the overpowering lights of advertisements are for you only. After (or before) treat yourself to one of the cheapest beers in the city at nearby Rudy’s Bar and Grill, which has been serving beers legally since it opened in 1933, and as a speakeasy during Prohibition in 1919.
What: Times Square
Who: Max Neuhaus
Where: Broadway between 45th and 46th Streets