Artists Climb New York City’s Largest Bridges
Embracing Manhattan as Media Sculpture
– 40 Year Anniversary
At 9am, May 19, 1977 – Seven artist/ climbers and a ground team of about 30 people scaled New York City’s seven largest suspension bridges, stopping rush-hour traffic for 20-30 minutes to embrace Manhattan. BRIDGING succeeded in its goal to replace violence and fear in mass media for one day with a strategically planned and executed collaborative, major performance art event.
Each artist wore a brightly colored jump-suit and modified safety harness. Each executed an individual work or performance atop their bridge. At the peak of their collective ascents, bright yellow smoke flares were ignited on each bridge, unifying the artists as a team.
Gianfranco Mantenga ~ GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE
Ruth Russell ~ TRIBOROUGH BRIDGE
Janet Applegate ~ QUEENSBORO BRIDGE
Tony Sapp ~ WILLIAMSBURG BRIDGE (Ground Partners: Michael Erlich and Ed Sheehy)
Anthony Siedenberg ~ MANHATTAN BRIDGE
Jack Bashkow ~ BROOKLYN BRIDGE
John Halpern ~ VERRANZANO NARROWS BRIDGE
The event captured major media engagement across the city of New York. News crews appeared at every accessible bridge. Helicopter filming occurred at 4 bridges. Their imaginatively crafted news stories about the event widely appeared in TV, radio and print for days and weeks in local, national and international news.
Art Corporation of America Incorporated continued to create events like BRIDGING until 1980.
Joseph Beuys, upon hearing of the event through the Feldman Fine Arts Gallery, in New York, invited Art Corp founder and project director, John Halpern to Documenta 6 in Kassel, Germany, to participate in the Free International University (F.I.U.) interaction / “Honey Pump and Work Station” installation. Both Ruth Russell and Gianfranco Mantegna joined Halpern at the Documenta. A few Beuys “Blackboards” including drawings and notes about Bridging and Art Corp., created with Beuys and Art Corp at Documenta 6 are part of Das Kapital, a large Beuys installation, formerly at Halle fur Neue Kunst, Schaffhausen, Switzerland.
With special thanks to:
Ron Feldman of Feldman Fine Arts Gallery