Frenchman Didier Pasquette kicked off a planned art extravaganza featuring the work of over 100 artists at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New by taking a three-minute walk 23 stories high and 150 feet long between the Liberty Building’s twin Statue of Liberty replicas.
The high-wire artist drew applause, car horns and roars from the crowd as he used a balancing pole and wore a specially designed hand-painted costume devised by a German artist. Pasquette was forced by the Department of Labor to wear a safety harness or he would risk arrest and even deportation. Ordinarily, he works without a safety net.
Twice he stopped his high-wire walk and lifted his hat to the crowd. At one point, he stood on one foot as he raised his hat. Another time, he knelt on one knee, bringing a fright to onlookers. When he reached his destination, he bowed several times and gestured toward the Statue of Liberty which was a gift of his country, France, to the United States. Fortunately, the wind was calm, a circumstance which is not predicted for the weekend.
Pasquette has performed his artistry in London, Paris and Copenhagen, and for the Cirque du Soleil. This was his first time in North America. Over 100 people gathered below the performance, although spectators could be seen looking out of office windows and from their cars. Onlookers shouted for Pasquette to walk back again.
A reception was held after the spectacle at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery where the costume worn by Pasquette will be put on display. A Gallery spokesman said it was everything they hoped it would be.
Western New Yorkers are used to challenging feats as daredevils in the past have gone over Niagara Falls in a barrel or performed tightrope walking exploits. Didier Pasquette is expected to perform three high-wire acts 50 feet off the ground in the city of Niagara Falls on Sunday at noon, at 1 p.m. and at 2 p.m. Those who missed the show in Buffalo will be able to witness Pasquette’s repeat performance in Niagara Falls.
Click here to view the Frenchman’s daring feat.
The Buffalo News, 9/24/2010