Tag Archive | Public Art Fund

Anselm Kiefer’s Uraeus Sculpture at Rockefeller Center

Anselm Kiefer Uraeus Front View With Flowers
All Photos By Gail  (Thanks to Dave Manilow for The Tip on How to Get This Great Shot!)

Memorial Day Monday was not the hoped-for sunny day here in NYC, and the grey sky with threat to rain lent itself to indoor activities like Museum visits! Thus, I was inspired to head out to the Museum of Modern Art, followed by a short walk downtown to Rockefeller Center to see the new summer public artwork. This year’s monumental work is the first site-specific outdoor public sculpture ever to be commissioned for the United States from German artist Anselm Kiefer (b. 1945). Entitled Uraeus, the work consists of a gigantic open book with eagle’s wings 30 feet in span, both made of lead, on top of a 20-foot-tall lead-clad stainless steel column.

Uraeus Left Front with Pedestal

Clustered around the base of the column are further oversize lead books, while a large snake coils up the column (you can see the snake’s head rising up over the bottom edge of the open book). Lead is one of Kiefer’s preferred materials for its soft, fluid properties that are traditionally associated with alchemical transformation.

Anselm Kiefer Uraeus Side Front View

These photos will give you a better view of the statues platform with books scattered about, though it is not easy to get a shot without lots of people coming and going.

Uraeus Front with Pedestal

The sculpture’s cryptic title, Uraeus, refers to the erect shape of the Egyptian cobra, associated with the serpent goddess Wadjet and a symbol of power and divine authority. The wings evoke the headdresses and necklaces worn by Egyptian royalty in homage to the vulture goddess Nekhbet. Wadjet and Nekhbet were the guardians of Lower and Upper Egypt, respectively, and following ancient Egypt’s unification, became the joint patrons of the civilization. You can read more about the philosophy behind the sculpture at This Link.

Anselm Kiefer Uraeus Rear View

This is what the piece looks like shot from the rear and facing Fifth Avenue.

Anselm Kiefer Uraeus Side Rear View

Uraeus is no Seated Ballerina, but it’s worth checking out if you are in the area!

Anselm Kiefer’s Uraeus will be on View Through Jul 22nd, 2018 (expect that tenure to be extended) at the Fifth Avenue entrance to Rockefeller Center’s Channel Gardens, between 49th and 50th Streets, in Midtown Manhattan.Anselm Kiefer Uraeus Front View With Flowers 2

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Yinka Shonibare MBE: Wind Sculpture (SG) I in Central Park

Yinka Shonibare MBE Wind Sculpture
All Photos By Gail

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.

Yinka Shonibare MBE Wind Sculpture

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.

Yinka Shonibare MBE Wind Sculpture

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.”

Yinka Shonibare MBE Wind Sculpture

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.

Yinka Shonibare MBE Wind Sculpture

Yinka Shonibare MBE Wind Sculpture

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.

Yinka Shonibare MBE Wind Sculpture

Anish Kapoor’s Decension in Brooklyn Bridge Park

Whirlpool Detail
All Photos By Gail

Brooklyn Bridge Park is fun place to hang out on a sunny weekend day. Into early September, there’s another reason to make a destination of this small oasis that rests in the shadow on one of the city’s major landmarks: that being Anish Kapoor’s Descension whirlpool installation!

Decension Signage and Entrance

For more than 35 years, Anish Kapoor — an Indian artist who now lives in London — has been among the most creative artists of his generation. He has created compelling and poetic bodies of work using a range of materials that include raw pigment, stone, stainless steel, synthetic polymer, resin, and wax. He also has a longstanding interest in the sculptural potential of water.

Descension From a Distance

Descension Approach

Descension

Descension With Bridge

Decension, presented for the first time in the United States, represents a breakthrough with this inherently challenging, slippery substance. I visited the site on the (unfortunately overcast) Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, where I took a short video as I became hypnotized by the deep whooshing sound of the endless swirling water. Enjoy!


Like all of Kapoor’s works, Decension is the result of intensive research into material and process, exploring the potential of water to behave in surprising ways. The continuous swirling motion of this 26-foot-diameter liquid mass converges in a central vortex, as if rushing water is being sucked into the earth’s depths. We thus experience Kapoor’s abstract form on multiple levels. Its powerful physicality has a visceral and mesmerizing impact. Yet Descension also stimulates the imagination and suggests a social, cultural and even mythic dimension.

Decension

Descension is on view at Pier 1’s Bridge View Lawn until September 10th, 2017. Viewing times are 9:00 am-9:00 pm daily except during inclement weather.

Descension Close Up

Open House By Liz Glynn in Central Park

Open House Installation View
All Photos By Gail

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 Arches

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 Arches

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.

Open House Installation View
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.

Cement Chair

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.

Open House Signage

David Shrigley, Memorial

David Shrigley Memorial
All Photos By Gail

Across the centuries, memorials have acted as public sites of collective remembrance and markers of our shared cultural heritage. Some monuments continue to hold a contemporary significance, while others have become obsolete in an ever-changing urban and social landscape; their meanings often lost from civic consciousness.

Memorial, Rear View
Memorial, Rear View (Plaza Hotel in Background)

Memorial, by British artist David Shrigley honors one of the most common of all acts: the writing for a grocery list. By engrave this ephemeral, throwaway list on a solid slab of granite — a material ubiquitous with the language of monuments — the artist humorously subverts both a daily routine and the role of the classic memorial.

While Shrigley’s shopping list might appear to posture as a counter-monument, through its celebration of common activity, its anonymity and absurdity, the sculpture becomes a memorial both to no one and to everyone — perhaps standing as a simple but poignant ode to humanity.

David Shrigley: Memorial will be on view through February 26, 2017 in Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park, Fifth Avenue at 59th Street. 

Olaf Bruening Clouds In Central Park

Olaf Breuning Clouds
All Photos By Gail

Just in time for Spring, Olaf Breuning’s installation, Clouds arrived in Central Park on March 4th. The six Bright Blue Clouds tower nearly 35 feet above the plaza at the intersection of 5th Avenue and 60th Street just on the border of the Park. Held aloft among the trees by rudimentary steel supports, the Clouds are made of polished and painted aluminum and were cut to match a hand drawing by the artist.

Olaf Breuning Clouds View Towards Park
View of Clouds Looking Towards The Park

Calling to mind the set design of a school play or child-like drawings of the sky, the idea for this work is inspired by one of the artist’s staged photographs. For that earlier work, Breuning used cranes and cherry pickers to raise large blue drawings of clouds high in the air, creating a momentary scene to be captured by the camera.

Olaf Breuning Clouds View Towards 5th Ave
Clouds View Looking Towards 5th Ave

The exhibit is supported by Public Art Fund. Find out more about the Clouds installation at This Link!

Olaf Breuning Clouds Signage