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Pavements lined with black gold: The Manhattan oil project by Josephine Meckseper.

Oil pump in the city

Manhattan, like most modern cities, is built on oil. It gushes in massive fountains and strange forms, but not in its liquid manifestation of course. In wealth, power, pollution, architecture and transport oil is at the cultural root of our age. The artist Josephine Meckseper sponsored by the Art Production Fund explores this idea in her thought provoking installation the Manhattan Oil Project.

The pumps rescued from Electra, a boarded-up Texan town once famous for making pump jacks, speak of industrial prowess and decay. Their location installed on an empty lot at the junction of 46th Street and 8th Avenue, near Times Square, confronts the tensions created by the painful transition of an economy based on heavy industry moving to the ephemeral world of new media, the internet and the fleeting electronic image.

The sculpture began pumping yesterday, and will continue until May!

oil pump detail

pump jack in daylight

detail of pump jack

pumps from a distance

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