Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mae West: Workhouse Redux

MAE WEST served eight days [of a ten day sentence for obscenity and the corruption of morals] at the Women's Workhouse, located on an island not far from the 59th Street Bridge. Known as Welfare Island in 1927, it was grandly renamed Roosevelt Island.
• • For three days, Canadian artist Thom Sokoloski is commemorating the penal spirit of Mae's temporary home in the workhouse.
• • Beginning on Friday and ending this Sunday [September 28 -30, 2007] individuals can explore The Encampment.
• • Thom Sokoloski's massive three-night installation on Roosevelt Island in New York evolved directly from his previous outdoor display "Confinement of the Intellect" — — which he created in Toronto's Trinity Bellwoods Park for their local Nuit Blanche Festival [2006]; last September he erected 68 tents containing artifacts tied to people with a mental illness.
• • Peter Goddard, staff writer for the Toronto Star, explained the site-specific exhibit this way: "The Encampment's rigid, militaristic formation of some hundred 19th-century tents lit from within by an LED light will remind New Yorkers looking out from their apartment windows of Roosevelt Island's history as a centre of control and confinement. The ship-shaped wedge of land on New York's east side has been a smallpox quarantine centre, a mental health site, and a prison that saw Mae West serve eight days in jail after her play Sex was busted in [February] 1927 for obscenity."
• • Swing by Roosevelt Island on 30 September 2007 to catch the last day.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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• • Photo: • • Mae West leaves the workhouse • • April 1927 • •
Mae West.

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