Posted On: March 31, 2009

Shannon Plumb


Shannon Plumb’s The Park captures the diversity of Madison Square Park: its flora and fauna, people, and myriad uses. Plumb’s twelve short films, shown daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on four outdoor video screens, track the comedy and, at times, tragedy that comes with living our private lives out-of-doors.

In a city of “cozy” homes and relentless demands, parks double as offices, concert halls, and living rooms, and very often stand in for backyards, front lawns, and gardens. Plumb’s footage, originally shot on 16mm, portrays the awkwardness of city life, from the inescapable cell phone calls of others to the plight of the urban dog and dog-walker.

Often described as vaudevillian, Plumb’s style draws on the rich panoply of caricatures from silent-film era performance and early twentieth century variety shows. We recognize all of her characters, from a groundskeeper battling both nature and technology to a hapless production assistant. Deceptively simple in form and content, Plumb’s stories draw out the rich historical past of the city and delight in the funny and frustrating clash of private lives and public space.

About the Artist

Shannon Plumb was born in Schenectady, New York, and lives and works in Brooklyn. She is represented in New York by Sara Meltzer Gallery and has had solo exhibitions at Collette in Paris; 20:21 Galerie Edition Kunsthandel in Essen, Germany; City Gallery of Schwaz, Tyrol, Austria; Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, Connecticut; and Art Association at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Her work has been included in group shows, including Human Game, curated by Francesco Bonami, Maria Luisa Frisa, and Stefano Tonchi; Torino Triennial, curated by Francesco Bonami and Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Torino, Italy; i-Dentity, at Fashion and Textile Museum, London, UK; and Greater New York 2005, PS1/MoMA in Long Island City. Her films have been screened at national and international film festivals including If Looks Could Kill: Fashion in Film Festival 2008; 61 Festival Internazionale del Film, Locarno, Switzerland; Forum Expanded: Berlin Film Festival 2007; the 2006 London Film Festival; Scanners: 2006 New York Video Festival; the Lyon Film Festival, France; Anthology Film Archives, and many others.


Major Support for Mad. Sq. Art is provided by Founding Partners Agnes Gund and Anonymous. Substantial support is provided by Ronald Pizzuti, Toby Devan Lewis, and Henry Luce Foundation. Support for this project is provided by Sara Meltzer Gallery. This project is supported in part with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Mad. Sq. Art is made possible by the leadership and generosity of the many friends and family of the Madison Square Park Conservancy.


Art in America

New York Times

Further Information

Shannon Plumb