If you’re going to be visiting the Whitney Museum, walking on the High Line, or otherwise spending time in the Meatpacking District, make sure to find your way to Gansevoort Plaza, (located between Ninth Avenue and Gansevoort Street) to check out a new Public art installation, Bombora House, by Brooklyn-based artist Tom Fruin. An internationally known sculptor whose work has been featured across NYC, and written about here on The ‘Gig, Fruin’s work can be seen as a celebration of human behavior and everyday life.
“If you really want to understand what makes up the fabric of people and places, you often learn all you need to by looking at the floor,” says Fruin of his approach. Reusing collected fragments of street and retail signage, disposed theater props, plastics and metals, Fruin creates something beautiful from nothing. Fruin refers to this process as “quilting,” whereby discarded items are brought together to create a map of life. With Bombora House, Fruin conveys messages of hope, stability and joy in the sculptural interpretation of a home and a suggestion to look at our surroundings with a fresh perspective.
The installation takes its name from an expression by Fruin’s fellow artist, friend and inspiration, Melinda Brown, who dubbed the building she lived in (close by on the corner of 13th Street and Ninth Avenue) Bombora House. The house was a place where artists would gather to collaborate and create, and its name is a reference to the “outsider wave” prized by surfers. From her native Australia, Ms. Brown states “Bombora refers to a large wave with its own frequency. Surfers will wait for the bombora to roll in. It’s a large wave at the end of a set of waves, same rhythm, different frequency or same frequency, different rhythm. It brings the fish in!” Today, Fruin’s Bombora House symbolizes the wave that spurred the ongoing cultural artistic and architectural evolution for the Meatpacking District.
Open to the public for observation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the exhibit will look different as the daylight shifts into the evening, at which point the sculptures will be lit from within, projecting the multi-color nature of the piece onto Gansevoort Plaza. At night (I will try to get over there after nightfall to add some new photos) the installation will be illuminated by LEDs with a design created by Ryan Holsopple, allowing people to interact with the lighting by texting 347-328-2636. The installation is on display through April 30, 2021. This program is made possible through the NYC Department of Transportation’s Public Art Program.
Update March 28th, 2021:
While I have not had the opportunity make it over to the Bombora House after dark, so I can check out how the installation looks when all lit up, I did find these two pieces by Tom Fruin at an art gallery in the Hudson Yards mall, and as you can see they are quite similar to the miniature houses at the site.
These should give you some idea of what you will see at night.