A summer without art is no summer at all. If you’re an art fan who misses going to museums, keeping up with local galleries and exploring art fairs as much as I do, then you will be excited to learn that the second edition of Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center will usher out the summer with one-month outdoor exhibit of works by six internationally renowned artists: Ghada Amer, Beatriz Cortez, Andy Goldsworthy, Lena Henke, Camille Henrot and Thaddeus Mosley. The site-specificworks will be installed in open, public locations throughout Rockefeller Plaza, allowing for ample social distancing space in compliance with all City and State guidelines. Offering free admission to all, Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center will be on display from September 1st through October 2, 2020.
Curated by Brett Littman (Director of the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum in Long Island City, New York), the second edition is inspired by the site’s and the city’s natural materials of earth, rock, and plants, and by the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the original date when the exhibit was scheduled to debut. Participating artists have responded to that inspiration, with five of them creating major new site-specific works.
Works on display in the Rockefeller Center program include:
Ghada Amer (Goodman Gallery, Marianne Boesky): Egypt-born New York-based artist Ghada Amer presents an ambitious garden installation, titled Women’s Qualities. The piece was first conceptualized and installed in Busan, South Korea, in 2000 after the artist undertook a simple study, asking members of the public what qualities they found most important in women. 20 years on, the artist revisits the piece in New York, combining gender stereotypes that she encountered in Busan in 2000 with perspectives from Americans in 2020. The responses are written with flowers to create a living portrait of the impossible “woman ideal.”
Andy Goldsworthy (Galerie Lelong & Co.): Red Flags (2020) is a major new installation looking at the contexts of flags – their inherent and potential meanings – in one of New York’s most iconic flag flying sites. Goldsworthy replaces Rockefeller Center’s flags with flags colored with earth gathered from each of the 50 states.
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Lena Henke (Bortolami): Two new sculptures, R.M.M. (Power Broker Purple) (2020) and R.M.M. (Organ, Organ, Organ Red) (2020) combine Henke’s personal experience and the history of New York City’s urban planning, in particular the controversial designs of architect Robert Moses (1888–1961).
The sheer size of these new works was based on Henke’s own height, and determined with the help of Le Corbusier’s, Modular, and anthropometric scale of proportions, placing her own body in direct relation to Rockefeller Center’s canonical architectural space. In their new context, set in front of the main entrance at Rockefeller Center’s formal Art Deco-influenced complex, the large, colorful hooves become objects of irrational, organic flux. They are an ode to the many equestrian symbols in and outside of Rockefeller Center’s buildings.
Camille Henrot (Metro Pictures): Inside Job is a bronze sculpture to be installed in Rockefeller Center’s Channel Gardens. Evoking both the shape of a shark and also the beak of a bird, the work explores concurrent themes of threat and tenderness. Henrot will also present a series of small-scale works from Is it possible to be a revolutionary and like flowers? taking inspiration from previous collaborations with artists undertaken at the Sōgetsu School. The title of each piece is taken from a book, creating a library of literature translated into flowers.
Thaddeus Mosley (Karma): Three monumental freestanding sculptural editions, all specifically fabricated for Frieze Sculpture, entitled Illusory Progression, True to Myth, and Rhizogenic Rhythms have been sited on 5th Avenue in front of the Channel Gardens. These bronze works are the first multiple cast works in Mosley’s 60-year career and are based on his unique sculptures with salvaged Pittsburgh timber and discarded wood fragments and demonstrates what he describes as ‘weight in space.’
Beatriz Cortez (Commonwealth and Council): Cortez will present a new commission, Glacial Erratic (no photo available) selected for inclusion by a jury chaired by Brooke Kamin Rapaport (Deputy Director and Martin Friedman Chief Curator, Madison Square Park Conservancy), and guest judges Taylor Aldridge, Brett Littman, Loring Randolph, and Michaella Solar-March. Made of steel frame and sheet metal, Glacial Erratic evokes an ancient boulder, like the numerous glacial erratics that populate the landscape in New York City. Placed in the context of Rockefeller Center, the sculpture will age as it is exposed to the elements and human traffic while marking different temporalities and making visible the planetary nature of ancient migration.
Presented by Frieze New York and Tishman Speyer, Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center Will Be on Display From September 1st through October 2nd, 2020. The Exhibit is Free and Open to The Public.