I am an art villain.
There was a wolf man who buried 31 homemade animals in Central Park in the nighttime.
No pictures. No video. No spectacle.
Wolf man mask
Torn black cut off pants
9/1/12: Mixture of armadillo, cat, and egret; Sheep Meadow
9/2/12: Mixture of armadillo, raccoon, and opossum; East Meadow
9/3/12: Mixture of falcon, fish, and mouse; Strawberry Fields
9/4/12: Mixture of armadillo parts; Harlem Meer
9/7/12: Mixture of cat and raccoon parts; Reservoir
9/9/12: Mixture of cow and snake parts; North Meadow
9/10/12: Mixture of fish and lobster parts; Great Lawn
9/11/12: Mixture frog and fish parts; Pool
9/11/12: Mixture of dog, fish, and mouse parts; Tennis Courts
9/12/12: Mixture of rabbit, snake, and vulture parts; Pond
9/12/12: Mixture of opossum and raccoon parts; Heckscher Ballfields
9/14/12: Mixture of shrimp and squirrel parts; Cedar Hill
9/14/12: Mixture of armadillo, fish, mollusk parts; Mall
9/16/12: Mixture of cow, dog, and frog parts; NW corner
9/16/12: Mixture of fish, mollusk, and squid parts; West of the Great Lawn
9/18/12: Mixture of dog, fish, and wild turkey parts; Ramble
9/18/12: Mixture of opossum parts; Fort Clinton
9/19/12: Mixture of fish, mouse, and opossum parts; SW corner
9/21/12: Mixture of fish parts; Great Hill
9/24/12: Mixture of squirrel parts; Bridle Path
9/25/12: Mixture of mouse and raccoon parts; West of the Ramble
9/26/12: Mixture of cat, fish, and shrimp parts; East Green
10/6/12: Mixture of bird and mealworm parts; North Woods
10/8/12: Mixture of blue crab and eel parts; North of North Meadow
10/9/12: Mixture of opossum, vulture, and wild turkey parts; NE of The Pond
10/9/12: Mixture of fish parts; Wollman Rink
10/11/12: Mixture of bird, raccoon, and shark parts; Great Lawn
10/15/12: Mixture of bird parts; Bridle Path
10/15/12: Mixture of bird, fish, raccoon parts; Reservoir
10/15/12: Mixture of opossum parts; South of Tavern on the Green
10/15/12: Mixture of fish, raccoon, and squid parts; SW corner
Written by Whitney Kimball (New York Observer, L Magazine, Art Fag City)
On the balmy night of September 1st, 2012, at approximately 10:03 PM, I met Nate Hill on the corner of 66th Street and Fifth Avenue. Nate, wearing a faded grey T-shirt and shorts, led me through a discreet pathway into Central Park, around 67th Street. Walking alongside his bike, we discussed our plans.
Directly across from the Balto statue, Mr. Hill quickly produced the burial object from his small black plastic bag: two sets of taxidermied egret legs, sewn together. They were joined by a small, furry ball with fang-like armadillo fingers poking out of it. “There’s some cat in there,” he noted.
The intended burial site was in Sheep Meadow, a field which is closed to Park visitors after dusk, so we’d come prepared to jump a fence. The anticipated break-in set a certain clandestine tone; we made fractured small talk, excitedly peering around to make sure nobody suspected us. We noticed two people up ahead, what looked like a police officer and a pedestrian studying a spot on the ground with a flashlight. We instinctively lurched in the other direction, but quickly pulled ourselves together. “I guess we’re the weird ones,” Nate observed.
Walking around the southern edge of the park, we rounded a corner to a darkened hill, protected from street lights. I futzed with the video camera. Nate tried to lock his bike. As we talked over how we’d jump the fence (I’d get a leg-up, then he’d pass me my purse), we were spotted by a man with a small dog. We looked at the sky, nonchalant, possibly whistling. Thankfully, the man and dog had nothing to say to us; we resumed. I was about to hand Nate my purse when we were caught in the headlights of a golf cart with police lights. Thinking we were caught, Mr. Hill turned to the police. “Hi--” he started, but a policeman walked straight into the woods. Heaving a sigh of relief, we scurried back down the hill.
We waited a few minutes on the south side of Sheep’s Meadow, on a bench near the volleyball courts, where we could watch from a safe distance until the lights moved on. Nate locked his bike.
About five minutes later, the cart finally rolled out of sight. This time, we weren’t waiting around. We sped back to the top of the hill, I handed Nate my bag, he gave me the leg-up, and we swung over the fence. Nate pulled off his shirt, kicked off his sneakers, and snapped on a Wolfman mask in the style of the 1941 film.
We took a good ten to fifteen fast paces out into the open field, then Nate hunched down and dug furiously, first with the trowel, then with his hands. As I snapped flash photos, Nate froze and looked around at the park, then up at the full moon, which happened to be exactly behind his head, emerging behind parting clouds-- much like a wolf, keeping one eye open for hunters as he devours his prey.
Just as Nate packed the clumps of dirt back into the hole, the same police lights returned. We made for the shadowy east side of the park, toward the shelter of trees. We both threw out a few suggestions for avoiding the cops. We should keep changing directions so they lose our trail, I offered. Nate, still shirtless, said we’d just tell them that this was an art project. “Don’t tell them about the dead animal part. Just say I’m pretending to be a wolf burying things,” he instructed, holding up the trowel, “‘Cause I’m gonna have to explain this, which is gonna be weird.” In the dark, he appeared to be brandishing a knife.
We walked around the perimeter of the park, and then picked a spot on the lawn to watch the parked police cart. We made small talk, occasionally trotting up to check the coast, ducking back into the shadows. After a long wait, the lights turned on and drove away, and we headed back to the rock where Nate had left his shirt and shoes.
I returned the following afternoon: Sunday, September 2nd, around 3 PM. The park was now full of shirtless men playing frisbee and couples on towels. As I scanned the ground for a hole, we passed by a group playing Bolo Toss. Upper Manhattan was now visible above the tree line.
Increasingly aware of the crowd around me, I avoided looking up to see if I was being watched. Again, I came up with alibis. Maybe I was looking for a bracelet I had lost yesterday, or maybe I was a bio student. A frisbee whizzed past my head, and I tossed it back to the shirtless guy with a headband.
After about twenty minutes searching the lawn, tapping dips with my shoe to make sure they were solid, I thought I’d lost the gravesite. I walked back toward the rock where Nate had left his shoes and shirt to exit through the west gate, which we had climbed over the night before. Then I saw it: a small pile of loose, dry dirt with a clump of grass next to it, just five feet or so in front of a couple on a towel. “That’s it!” I said aloud, pointing and running toward it. The couple looked on as I crunched down to inspect the hole. I was too afraid to run my hands into it, realizing that this could just as easily be a fresh dog pile.