FriendsWithYou's Amusement Park Art Installation Opens at the High Line

If you find yourself near the upper end of the High Line at any point in the next month, you’ll be jarred awake by Rainbow City, a public installation by the Miami artist duo FriendsWithYou (Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval, who also have their first solo show opening at The Hole at 312 Bowery on Thursday). The installation, which is being presented by AOL,  is comprised of huge “air-filled sculptures”—some of them 30 feet high—that are really just massive balloons. They make the west side look a lot more interesting. Last night at a preview, guests drank heavily among the carnivalesque art project, and started treating the sculptures more like toys than works of art.

“Stop that!” a security guard yelled at two women tossing a giant inflatable yellow ball back and forth. Elsewhere, a crowd of people were dancing to Juvenile’s “Back That Ass Up” in the shadow of a big red mushroom with a white top.

George Michael’s “Freedom” was playing when the Observer bumped into the artists and asked about their inspiration.

“It’s all about freedom!” Mr. Borkson said while Mr. Sandoval sang along to the song in a falsetto. “Open the minds of all the people! Let them play! Let them enjoy! Let down your isolated blocking points and be free with each other! You gotta give watchu ta-ake! Ok. Interview’s done.”

 The Observer was reluctant to enter one of the sculptures, which functioned as an inflatable moonwalk, an environment he loved so much as a child but, in the jaded present, felt uncomfortable with.

“Come on,” an event staffer said. “You gotta do it. It’s so cathartic.”

The Observer went inside and jumped around. He thought: “This is cathartic.”

Afterward he saw Ira Silverberg, the literary agent, wearing a bright pink blazer and smoking a cigarette, which looked out of place among the exuberant innocence and charm of the surrounding environment.

“Did you go into the funhouse?” he asked, referring to the moonwalk.


“Did you do anything naughty?” he said, pushing his eyebrows together suggestively.

The Observer was not sure how to respond.

“I wanna go in there with a cigarette,” Mr. Silverberg said and disappeared into the night.

FriendsWithYou's Amusement Park Art Installation Opens at the High Line