Randy Ford Author- Neil David Bernstein’s Seaside Heights Wreckage Project
The Roller Coaster Stays The Rest goes to the Ground for Sculpture for Reincarnation
It was staggering. But Neil Bernstein’s ideas generally are. I have seen what he can do. I have seen him work. I have seen his work, and I have exhibited it. I have seen him at his lowest point, and I’ve seen him triumph. Neil Bernstein can be wild, kind, mad, sane, and because of his heart … and his ego … he produced art that so provoked and roused passions that it almost cost him his life.
Neil took artistic risks that no one else would and pulled it off. And on a gigantic scale that couldn’t be ignored he created art out of ashes, debris, and blood, and art that people could touch, and it touched people. He was tenacious after his art was destroyed while his art has undeniable significance and merit. So when he told me his plans for a new art project incorporating the wrecked roller coaster and amusement park at Seaside Heights, New Jersey (a place he loved as a child) I said to myself that’s Neil. I also knew he was serious, wasn’t crazy, and could pull it off in a spectacle way.
Remember he is the Neil Bernstein of the 9/11 WORLD TRADE CENTER-9/11 2001 “ART RISES FROM THE ASHES” exhibit near Ground Zero; the Neil Bernstein of the HURRICANE KATRINA-“BOTTOM OF THE NINTH WARD” exhibit and works called DEADLY BORDER-LANDS OF SOUTHERN ARIZONA- “BORDER PATROL” AND, “GOLDEN GATES BRIDGES OVER TROUBLED BORDERS.”. And the Neil Bernstein whose work has been exhibited around the world.
Neil likes to consider himself infamous, but I prefer to think of him in terms of his relevance. Yes, I’m obviously a fan, but I can’t think of an artist today who is more relevant, earthy, and gritty than Neil. And more Jersey than Neil
And when he described the art project he envisioned at Seaside Heights, New Jersey like this:
“Participants will literally ride the reincarnated and re-enchanted ride made from the wreckage of Hurricane Sandy if and when we can get our hands on the materials participants will have the option of being baptized by a minister, then will be carefully placed into the alter-world vehicles and asked where they wished to go; I’m heading down to Seaside now to get some traction …”
I knew what he was talking about. I knew what he was talking about and knew he meant it. And I knew he could pull it off! Go Neil, go!
And if it he gets his way (which he general does), it will be a spectacular memorial of the destruction of Seaside Heights by Hurricane Sandy and just as significant as (or greater than) the 9/11 WORLD TRADE CENTER-9/11 2001 “ART RISES FROM THE ASHES” exhibit was for New York City. Or HURRICANE KATRINA-“BOTTOM OF THE NINTH WARD was for New Orleans. Or the “GOLDEN GATES BRIDGES OVER TROUBLED BORDERS” was for all those who have died crossing the Mexican/American border.