Best known for his later work as a sculptor, William Zorach spent two years studying painting in Paris, returning to New York in 1912. He wrote that his depictions of NYC’s most famous park in Spring in Central Park (1914) were “painted at home from the imagination . . . in all wild colors, peopled with exotic nudes,“ but the bold hues in undulating outlines recall the work of the Fauves, notably Henri Matisse and Andre Derain, whose canvases he had seen in Paris. With his wife, Marguerite, an avant-garde painter herself, Zorach associated with many of America’s earliest Modernists in New York in the late 1910s, including Max Weber, Marsden Hartley, and John Maren. In 1913 both Zorachs exhibited at the prestigious international exhibition of modern art,known as the Armory Show.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Mark Manders’ Tilted Head is a work of fiction. It has the appearance of unfired clay combined with everyday objects but in fact is made entirely of cast bronze. The cracks and fissures that cover its surface imply an organic process of drying and decay, yet its metal form is fixed.
It might suggest an incomplete model, abandoned in the artist’s studio, if not for the fact that its colossal size and civic location lend it the air of a grand monument. Eyes shut, the androgynous figure’s mask-like features are at rest, undisturbed by an abrupt slice through a third of its face. The unfinished side of the head is held as if in a splint by wooden planks, one tied with rope.
At the back, chairs and a suitcase, all slightly reduced in size, protrude from a mass of formless material. These shifts in scale, unexplained objects, and trompe l’oeil bronze effects alter our perception and spark the imagination.
Back of Sculpture, Detail
Mark Manders (b. 1968, The Netherlands) has been interested in the human figure throughout his career, and is particularly fascinated with the head, which he sometimes depicts detached from the body and juxtaposed with different elements. These heads are always stylized representations rather than individualized portraits.
His approach creates a paradoxical sense of both immediacy and timelessness, of something newly made with fresh clay yet belonging to the traditions of classical statuary. With Tilted Head, Manders has rendered a compelling fiction of human form that inhabits a poetic space between representation and abstraction, serenity and rupture, life and mortality.
Mark Manders’ Tilted Head is Curated by Public Art Fund Director & Chief Curator Nicholas Baume. It Will be on Display at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Fifth Avenue and 60th Street, Adjacent to Central Park, Through September 1st, 2019.
Update: I was near the Park over the Memorial Day weekend and got this new shot of the sculpture with Summer’s lush greenery in the background!
I went up to Central Park on a recent Sunday to check out the latest Public Art Fund-sponsored large scale sculpture, which is Yinka Shonibare MBE’s Wind Sculpture (SG) I, installed on March 7th in the Doris C. Freedman Plaza. Unfortunately, and likely in an attempt to keep people from climbing on the monumental artwork, the park had grouped a number metal crowd barriers around the base of the sculpture on all sides, which seriously hindered my ability to get really great photos. Still, I did my best.
One of Britain’s best- known contemporary artists, Yinka Shonibare (b 1962, London) spent his childhood between England and Nigeria. He settled permanently in London in the early 1980s, where he attended art school. Shonibare regards himself as a cultural hybrid, a product of complex and layered relationships forged by centuries of global trade, migration, politics, and cultural exchange. His work reflects these currents in ways that often playfully invite us to look beyond appearances and assumption about identity.
Wind Sculpture (SG) I takes on the paradoxical task of manifesting the invisible. We can’t see the wind, but we do see its effects. Here, the dynamic movement of a piece of fabric in a gust of wind is rendered in solid fiberglass on monumental scale. Covered with an intricate pattern, the 23-foot-tall sculpture rises above the plaza, reminiscent of the untethered sail of a ship billowing in the breeze. Its unique, hand-painted pattern in turquoise, red, and orange — colors that the artist associates with his childhood on the beaches of Lagos — is inspired by Dutch wax batik print, which Shonibare has called the “perfect metaphor for multilayered identities.”
Wind Sculpture is the first work in a second generation — thus (SG)1 — of his celebrated series and continues Shonibare’s ongoing examination of the construction of cultural identity through the lens of colonialism. The work creates an opportunity to reflect on social issues associated with our current moment, including the movement of people and ideas across borders and the role of monuments in heterogeneous societies.
This sculpture is unbelievably gorgeous and looks different from every angle. Next time I am in the area I will see if the eyesore barriers are gone, and if so I will add new photos to the post!
Yinka Shonibare’s Wind Sculpture (SG) I Will Be On View Through October 14th, 2018 at Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Located at the Southeast Entrance to Central Park (5th Avenue and 60th Street), NYC.
Ai Weiwei’s Gilded Cage in Central Park (All Photos By Gail)
Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has a new series of public art sculpture installations up in Manhattan and across the five boroughs, which is called Good Fences Make Good Neighbors. Inspired by the international migration crisis and current geopolitical landscape, the ambitious project is installed in over 300 locations, including two monumental sculptures situated within in highly-trafficked Manhattan parks, along with security fences on top of, and in between, buildings (such as The Cooper Union), and several bus shelters. In addition, there are also graphic and photographic works on flags, billboards and lamppost banners. I saw a lot of these banners along Chrystie Street, which is where I also got my first glimpse of one.
Rooftop Fence Installation at 189 Chrystie Street
Ai’s metal fence is designed as a modular form, readily adaptable to the existing architecture, to span and partition the space.
You can still see the fences at night, because they are illuminated.
Rooftop Fence Installation on Bowery
Don’t forget to look up!
Bus Shelter at Ave C and E 6th Street
While it’s fun to spot the fences, it’s the interactive sculptures in the parks that really bring the Instagram Moments. Gilded Cage located at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park (at 5th Avenue and 60th Street) can be entered on one side.
At the turn of the 20th century, New York City’s wealthy elite gathered in opulent private ballrooms to define their social status. In contrast, Central Park granted democratic access to public space when it was established in the 1850s as one of the nation’s first urban parks.
Open House is a new commission by Los Angeles-based artist Liz Glynn(b. 1981, Boston, MA) that highlights these historic class distinctions. It references one of the grandest Fifth Avenue interiors designed by Gilded Age architect Stanford White: the now-demolished William C. Whitney Ballroom.
Open House transforms Doris C. Freedman Plaza into an open air ballroom, where only scattered furniture and arches remain eight blocks south from the original mansion.
Check This Guy Out
Glynn’s lavish Louis XIV sofas, chairs, and footstools evoke the historic home, but with a twist —- these objects feature sculpted additions and are cast in concrete, a populist material more commonly seen in modern architecture.
With this revision, the artist invites the public to enjoy a previously exclusive interior space that is now open and accessible to all. In this strange facsimile, Glynn addresses the evolving face of a city: who has access to space in a society that is increasingly divided along socio-economic lines?
Open House will be on Exhibit Through September 24th, 2017, at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Located at 5th Avenue and 60th Street at the Entrance to Central Park in Manhattan.
This family of happy Penguins can be found right by the stairs as you exit from the N, Q and R Trains at 59th Street (Central Park South) and Fifth Avenue. This also the stop you would take to get to the Central Park Zoo.