Discovering cool public art in NYC is part of what makes being an art lover in this city so rewarding. Even though they have been up since February 19th, I just read about Paula Hayes’ Gazing Globes installation in Madison Square Park last week, and with less than a month left to check it out, I felt encouraged by the promise of less frigid weather to head over there this past weekend.
The work features eighteen transparent polycarbonate spheres that hold the remnants of contemporary culture, including up-cycled radio parts, industrial materials, acrylic wands, and other pieces of vintage technology sprinkled with fairy dust made of pulverized CDs. In this way, Hayes is using new materials and adding fresh content to her objects while retaining some of the form of her well-known plant terrariums.
The heights of the pedestals varies, which adds a keen visual dynamic as well. It is like walking into a magical fairy land!
Each see-through globe lit from within features a mixture of analog radio parts, castoff electronic transistor parts, glass vacuum tubes, micro glass beads, shredded rubber tires, and recycled plastic flotsam. To these mixed remnants of technology and culture the artist added crystals and minerals.
A shimmering fairy dust was made from pulverized CDs and is layered within each sculpture’s interior. Hayes, who typically works with varieties of plant materials, determined that everyday castoffs are indicative of a society’s behavior and value system and symptomatic of the current landscape.
The artist states, “I used vintage parts because technology moves at such a fast pace. These play a role in the current landscape and how information is transmitted from one part of the globe to the next. I made an illuminated landscape evocative of the designed landscape of Madison Square Park. Both are born of human imagination and technology.”
Since the Globes are illuminated, the optimal viewing time is at dusk or, ideally, in the dark. We arrived maybe 20 minutes before full sunset, but due to being underdressed for a sudden temperature drop, we were just too cold to remain outside any longer.
Gazing Globes by Paula Hayes’s will be on view through April 19th, 2015 at the West Gravel area of Madison Square Park, Located on the North East Lot at Intersection of 23rd Street and Broadway, New York City.