Spotted this guy adjacent to the Skating Rink right outside the Standard Hotel on Washington Street in the Meatpacking District, NYC.
I haven’t walked much on the High Line this winter, and I specially try to stay away from it at night, when there could be hidden ice or slippery conditions, or when isolation could make for unsafe circumstances. But this past week I was at an opening on 28th Street and decided on the spur of the moment to just walk the few blocks along the elevated park until I reached 23rd Street and could walk down to a bus. What scary fun it was to come upon this sculpture waiting in the semi-darkness at 24th Street!
This imposing figure is called Sphinx Joachim, and he is creation of artist Marguerite Humeau (b. 1986, France). Humeau is fond of using her artworks to weave factual events into speculative narratives, enabling unknown, invisible, or extinct forms of life to erupt in grandiose splendor. For the High Line, Humeau has proposed a sphinx as a winged lion that protects the site against potential enemies. Equipped with motion detectors, Sphinx Joachim roars as an alarm every time it senses a human presence. Scary, especially in the dark!
Sphinx Joachim is part of the High Line’s Mutations series and will be on display through March, 2018.
If you stroll all the way to south end of the High Line to where the park terminates at Gansevoort Street in the meatpacking district, you may look across and consider that someone has blasted a passageway right through the building. But, that is an illusion.
A new site-specific work by Korean artist Do Ho Suh (b. 1962) visually reconnects the building facade of 95 Horatio Street with the elevated railway that once occupied the neighborhood. Although today the High Line ends at Gansevoort Street, here Suh imagines what the vista might have looked like in the days when train tracks continued to run through buildings down into SoHo. 95 Horatio Street previously housed the Manhattan Refrigerator Company, which had a private siding for the railway, allowing direct access to St. John’s Terminal further downtown.
The digitally rendered image, titled 95 Horatio Street, was just unveiled on June 26th, 2017, on the southwest corner of Gansevoort and Washington Streets. Suh is interested in the emotional and psychological significance of architectural space: its relation to personal memory and the collapse of time are themes he explores across media. His fabric recreations of former homes, meticulous rubbings of the interior of his New York apartment, and drawings of mobile and anthropomorphic architectural structures are evocative meditations on the definition of home, and how this definition is affected by displacement and context.
95 Horatio Street is the sixth work to be presented in this series of public art installations, organized by the Whitney Museum in partnership with TF Cornerstone and High Line Art. This installation is organized by curatorial assistant Christie Mitchell.
Do Ho Suh: 95 Horatio Street will be on Exhibit For An As-Yet-Undetermined Period of Time.
Veit Laurent Kurz (b. 1985 in Erbach, Germany) cultivates artificial ecosystems composed of a variety of living and nonliving materials, including plants, mosses, nondescript chemicals, biohazardous material containers, industrial plastic tubing, and paint.
For the High Line’s Mutations series, Kurz created Salamanderbrunnen; a fountain that circulates Herba-4, Kurz’s imagined “herbal juice of the future,” asking us to imagine the new forms of nature that we create together.
Salamanderbrunnen will be on Exhibit at the High Line, Closest to the Gansevoort Street Staircase, Through April 2018.
The videos and sculptures Jon Rafman (b. 1981)s are comprised of images constantly swallowing one another, much in the way that we consume media ourselves every day. In his commission for the High Line, Rafman presents a sculpture that takes the form of a circle of autophagous animals including a Dog, a Whale, a Lizard, possibly a Pig, and a Human all looped into a speculative food chain.
Jon Rafman’s The Swallower Swallowed is part of the Group Show Mutations, and it will be on view at the High Line Park, West of 10th Avenue right at 23rd Street, Through March of 2018.
Kathryn Andrews appropriates images from popular culture, often American movies, television, and stock photography archives. She then alters and re-contextualizes these images into three-dimensional configurations to create new narratives where viewers are invited to rethink the photographs in relation to their own bodies.
For her High Line Commission, Sunbathers I (not shown, located at 18th Street) and Sunbathers II (shown here), Andrews responds to two contrasting aspects of the elevated park: its relationship to nearby billboards and to the natural landscape. Andrews describes the High Line’s environment as a “hyper-surreal image world,” composed of large-scale advertisements and commercial signs that surround park visitors as they stroll high above the bustling cityscape.
Sunbathers II is a large, horizontal aluminum box containing a giant fan and featuring a photograph of an ice cream cone. The fan’s movement is juxtaposed with the adjacent static image, mirroring the park itself.
Kathryn Andrews’ Sunbathers I and II Will Be On Display Through March, 2017.
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 tight 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, sometimes it may be cause by not being able to sleep, here are some natural cures for insomnia. 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.