On my way to a Press Preview at the Whitney Museum last week, I decided to take the scenic route; walking along the High Line from 14th Street to Gansevoort Street. Because why not. As I hit the top of the stairs, I was met with this somewhat disquieting vision.
Yes, creepy! Of course, after a split second, I realized that I was looking at a statue, and not some random bald guy clad only in tighty whities, stalking unsuspecting nature lovers in sub-40 degree weather. As it turns out, I had come upon Tony Matelli’s Sleepwalker (2014), part of the Wanderlust series of public art installations along the west side’s elevated High Line Park. Very fun!
For Sleepwalker, Matelli presents a hyper-realistic painted bronze sculpture of a somnambulant man lost and adrift in the world, meandering about in a deep sleep. An amusing take on the theme of walking, Matelli’s sculpture challenges preconceived ideas about traditional monumental portraiture, and questions the extent to which any one of us is ever fully aware of our surrounding.
And based on what I observed in the five or so minutes I was hanging out, the number of degrading selfies that this poor sculpture is likely subject to on a daily basis is certainly limitless. Oy.
Sleepwalker will be on display on the High Line at 14th Street until March 31, 2017.