Spencer Finch: The River That Flows Both Ways


We heard Spencer Finch speak last spring about his anticipated installation for the High Line, The River That Flows Both Ways, and really liked his thinking. The installation opened simultaneously with the long-awaited unveiling of the first section of the High Line to the public this Tuesday, June 9.

Housed in a former loading dock where the High Line runs through the Chelsea Market building, the project gives new life to a series of window panes left abandoned since the last time a train ran on those tracks. The project takes its title from the original Native American name for the Hudson River, “The River That Flows Both Ways,” and its inspiration and content from the River itself which lies just to the west of the site. 700 individually-crafted colored panes of glass are intended to represent the different hues of water that Finch recorded on the Hudson over the course of one day. Attaching a camera to a tugboat, the artist took one picture every minute for 700 minutes, then color-matched the different hues (from varying amounts of reflected light and water conditions). Pretty smart.

The River That Flows Both Ways, is presented by Creative Time, Friends of the High Line, and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, with funding, in part, by The Rockefeller Foundation’s New York City Cultural Innovation Fund.