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Roving Guggenheim Project Brings Talking Parrot, Pile of Candy to Astoria

 Pinkie, a parrot from Pet Resources in The Bronx,  at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria as part of the Guggenheim's
Pinkie, a parrot from Pet Resources in The Bronx, at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria as part of the Guggenheim's "...circle through New York" project.
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Giacomo Francia

ASTORIA — A mobile art project will bring a talking parrot, a high school drama class, a pile of candy and other items to six different sites across the city over the next several months to create a "material exchange" that will connect the differing venues, the artists said.

"...Circle through New York," commissioned by the Guggenheim Museum's Social Practice Initiative, is taking place at public spaces in four neighborhoods — Astoria, the Upper East Side, Harlem and the South Bronx — connected by an "invisible circle" envisioned by artists Lenka Clayton and Jon Rubin.

The artists partnered with six institutions in the different areas, each of which were asked to help choose "an important aspect of their identity" that will be sent to other venues for weeks a time, with each item or concept rotating to the next location at the end of each month for six months.

For example, Pet Resources, a pet store in The Bronx, is sending its talking parrot — named Pinkie — to each site, where participants at the venues will try to teach the bird new words.

The other sites are the Frank Sinatra School of Arts and Jus Broadcasting, a Punjabi TV station, in Astoria; St. Philip's Church in Harlem; The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World on the Upper East Side and the Guggenheim itself.

"We wanted to create a project that put the Guggenheim into relationships with organizations and businesses throughout the city that it might not normally find itself in conversation with, because of geography or different circumstances," Rubin explained.

In addition to Pinkie, the Frank Sinatra school will be sending one of its drama classes to perform at each site, Jus Broadcasting will film one of its shows at the differing locations and St. Philip's Church will pass along its "call to action" relating to social justice and civil rights.

The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, a research center for New York University, will be rotating an ancient hymn that it has studied. The Guggenheim is sending a piece of art — “Untitled” (Public Opinion) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres — which is a large pile of individually wrapped licorice pieces that viewers can take and eat.

Each location is invited to incorporate its "visiting" elements in different ways. When the ancient hymn heads to St. Philip's Church, the church's choir will perform it throughout the month. Pet Resources plans to play the song in its store in a pitch only dogs can hear.

"It's really up to each institution," Rubin said.

There will also be public events throughout the project, which will continue until the end of August.

On Wednesday, people can head to Frank Sinatra School at 4:30 p.m. to meet and draw Pinkie the parrot, who has been there for the last several weeks. Students have been using him as a model in their art classes. Space for the event is limited, and those who want to attend should RSVP to aharsanyi@guggenheim.org.

The learn about future events during each rotation, visit the project's website or follow it on Instagram.