Max Neuhaus died in February 2009, aged 69, according to his New York Times obituary. I am sorry to have only found out this news now, but glad that I have the opportunity to write about his art and in particular, one installation of Neuhaus' which I find utterly compelling.
In Times Square since 1977, if you walk across the triangular traffic island at 45th Street, you come across a section of grating through which you can see a drop down into the subway system and a lot of cigarette butts and some assorted trash. But it's not what you see...
...it's what you hear
A strange, intense, reasonably tuneful sound, a constant sound, unchanging yet modulating and colorful. All around you is the clash of sights and sounds that is the full-strength unfiltered craziness that is Times-Square-New-York-City-U-S-A-In-Your-Face-And-YELLING!
but at that one spot, it is Neuhaus' sound installation, called Times Square
, which reaches upwards and envelopes you.
Neuhaus stipulated that there should be no sign to indicate what the sound is. "A thousand people an hour" he said, may cross the tiny traffic island, and if most hear the sound of Times Square, without actually realizing what is that strangely melodious machinery noise? his art has achieved its aim. Here's a short film
about Neuhaus and the installation of Times Square
“He was a pot banger from an early age,” said his sister, Laura Hansen. “I think he was in the sixth grade when he got [a drum kit]...”