You Can See a Tino Sehgal Rehearsal in City Hall Park Today

In New York, there's nothing you can't do.

Tara, right, sings to a passerby for Tino Sehgal, This You, 2006, in rehearsal at City Hall Park. Courtesy Brian Boucher.

“In New York, there’s nothing you can’t do,” sang a performer in City Hall Park today as I walked toward her. “Tino Sehgal, This You, 2006.”

Performers are rehearsing Sehgal’s work until 5 p.m. today, so if you find yourself in the Financial District, you can catch a preview of the work, which will be part of “The Language of Things,” the next show organized by New York’s Public Art Fund, which opens in June. Also on the roster for that show are Carol Bove, Claudia Comte, Michael Dean, Adam Pendleton, Chris Watson, and Hannah Weiner.

During the run of Sehgal’s performance, just one performer will be singing at a time, while today, several are rehearsing.

“The singers can sing whatever they want, depending on how the person inspires them,” said Tara, the performer who addressed me in song, sporting an afro and a leather jacket. She couldn’t quite articulate what about me led her to sing just those words from Alicia Keys’s 2011 hit “Concrete Jungle.”

A performer rehearses Tino Sehgal, <i>This You</i>, 2006, at City Hall Park.<br>Photo: Brian Boucher.

A performer rehearses Tino Sehgal, This You, 2006, at City Hall Park.
Photo: Brian Boucher.

“People are constantly demanding your attention,” said artist Isabelle Lewis, who is working with Sehgal to install the work. “But this one doesn’t ask anything of you.”

Sehgal staged a show at New York’s Guggenheim Museum in 2010, “This Progress,” that led visitors up the museum’s spiral ramp as they engaged in partly scripted, partly improvised conversations with performers of increasing ages. At that show as at all his other performances, photography is strongly discouraged, as a Public Art Fund staffer reminded me at the park today, and as artnet’s Ben Davis wrote about in 2010.

The photographs were taken at my own risk.

“The Language of Things” will be on view at City Hall Park from June 28-September 29.

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