The Non-Violence Project Foundation (NVP) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire, motivate and engage young people on how to peacefully resolve conflicts. It holds violence prevention and nonviolence education programs for schools and sports clubs around the world. NVP’s signature logo is the Non-Violence, also known as the Knotted Gun. It was created by the Swedish artist, Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd (1934 – 2016) as a memorial tribute to John Lennon after he was shot and killed on December 8, 1980, in New York City. Ambassadors of the Non-Violence Project include Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Yoko Ono, among others. This Shell Pink Knotted Gun sculpture was spotted for sale in the Non-Violence Project’s booth at the Fall 2018 Affordable Art Fair in NYC.
A couple of weeks ago, Geoffrey and I made the upper Mnahattan pilgrimage to The Cloisters to see the second half of The Met’s Heavenly Bodies costume exhibit, and we were not disappointed. A bonus of the trip is that, as we rode the bus from the subway up to the top of the hill – because who wants to walk in this heat? – I noticed what looked like life-size Knights in Armor scattered about the lawn, and decided that we must check that shit out on our way back to the train. And check it out we did.
It turns out that the Armored Knights, and their alien-looking, silvery Nude companions, part of an installation, Armors, which was created by Icelandic sculptor Steinunn Thorarinsdottir. Back home, the artist is known for the androgynous figures she’s placed at iconic landmarks across the globe, including in Reykjavík outside Hallgrímskirkja church and, back in 2011 at NYC’s Hammarskjöld Plaza near Second Avenue.
Armors is made up of three pairs of figures, each featuring a Knight — whose armor replicates a piece of 16th century armor found in gallery 317 at The Met – who is facing or interacting with one of Thorarinsdottir’s nude figures. The Knights were 3D scanned and then manufactured out of aluminum. Thorarinsdottir modeled each nude figure as a direct response to each distinct suit of armor, and all six were then brought to the Cloisters Lawn.
In a statement about the work, Thorarinsdottir offers that, “Ancient armors are in themselves sculptural forms. They were developed for war but they give a sharp insight into the psyche of man. I wanted to merge medieval armors and ageless, androgynous figures in a way that would speak to the human condition today and in the past.”
Armors was created in collaboration with NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks program, and can be found in Fort Tryon Park, on the great lawn just downhill from the Cloisters. Get your medieval selfies through September 13th, 2018.
Since the 1980s, Deborah Kass has riffed on modern artworks by famous white men to reflect her experience as a Jewish lesbian. Here, Kass remakes Robert Indiana’s LOVE (itself a coded homage to queer male desire) with the twinned words Oy (a Yiddish exclamation of alarm or bother) and Yo.
The artist considers herself to be a “total, absolute, 100 percent provincial New Yorker.” This work uses the city’s culturally specific, yet universal lingo to communicate the collective pride and exasperation of living here. Originally conceived as a monumental sculpture, it was installed for limited time in Brooklyn Bridge Park. OY/YO (2017) became an instant New York icon and photo op for tourists and residents of al backgrounds, for whom the pluralist spirit of the double-sided interjection resonated deeply
Photographed in the Jewish Museum in Manhattan. Note that This Work is Currently On View In Front of The Brooklyn Museum (as of 10/1/18).
Mariechen Danz (b. 1980, Dublin, Ireland) is a Berlin-based artist who researches representations of the body, investigating the way it has been given meaning in various cultures, epochs, and fields of knowledge. In her installations, performances and music, often in collaboration with other artists and musicians, the human body emerges as a contradictory structure and a scene of conflict — an utterly contaminated zone, both politically and historically.
For the High Line, Danz presents a new iteration of The Dig of No Body, a sculpture that references anatomical learning models segregated into individual parts, like a life-sized soil sample in movable layers.
The work evokes our changing relationship to the earth, as well as the popular contemporary name “Anthropocene,” which suggests humans’ creation of a new geological era.
The Dig of No Body is Part of the Group Exhibition Agora, On Display Along The High Line Through March of 2019.
It’s not always easy to keep up with all of the Public Art installed in and around Manhattan at any given time, but I stumbled on the piece above, a towering, abstract white and cream fiberglass structure entitled Runner (2017), by sculptor Tony Cragg, when I visited the Park Avenue Armory for Nick Cave’s The Let Go installion. Runner is right out front of the Armory at the corner of 67th Street. When I left the Armory, I snapped a few additional shots of Runner before heading back down town.
Runner is one of five monumental, abstract sculptures by Cragg, which present an opportunity for a leisurely stroll over nearly 20 blocks on this almost suburban Manhattan thoroughfare. The commanding sculptures exemplify Cragg’s experimentation with a variety of materials include the aforementioned fiberglass, stainless steel and bronze.
Runner with the Park Avenue Armory in the Background.
On the 4th of July, I decided to get some exercise and walk from 52nd to 79th Streets to check out the other four Cragg sculptures. Please enjoy my photos!
Mean Average, at 52nd Street, is a weighty composition made of bronze.
I tried to shoot each of the sculptures from a variety of angles.
You can get such a different impression of the work, depending on your perspective.
Elliptical Column at 57th Street is a nearly 20-foot tall spire made of shiny, almost liquid-like stainless steel.
The same white and cream fiberglass used for Runner is also used for Hammerhead at 72nd Street, and the brightness allows the sculpture to really pop against the surrounding landscape.
At 79th Street, the artist uses bronze again for Tommy, which has a blue-green patina. The vertical forms seemingly defy gravity while giving the impression of upward motion and kinetic energy, though they are static.
Tony Cragg’s Monumental Sculptures will be on Exhibit along Manhattan’s Park Avenue Malls at the intersections of 52nd Street, 57th Street, 67th Street, 72nd Street, and 79th Streets Through October 31st, 2018.
The Gagosian Gallery chose an empty storefront at the the southeast corner or Fifth Avenue and 43rd Street for a Pop Up exhibit by Swiss artist Urs Fisher. The ad hoc gallery space contained exactly one work of art, a life-size Aluminum Rhinoceros entitled Things, whose form is adorned with an array of familiar, functional objects, ranging from a toilet to a handbag. The objects are either imbedded in the hide of the great beast, or they seem to float on its surface, as if attracted by a magnetic force. I went to check out Things on the penultimate day of its exhibition, which happened to be after work on a Friday.
Here’s some background on Things, and its meaning, from the Gagosian website:
“Amid the bustle of midtown Manhattan, a rhinoceros can be glimpsed through tall, arched windows at street level. Various man-made objects — including a copy machine, a car door, a handbag, a vacuum cleaner, a shovel, and a table — seem to float right through the creature, as if released from Earth’s gravitational pull.
Carved out of aluminum, this barrage of incongruous items forms a single, continuous unit, anchored by the rhinoceros, which stands its ground. Produced at life size from a 3D scan of a taxidermy animal, its furrowed visage looms from a height of more than ten feet.
Things considers the ways that objects and forces — from plastic bottles and Wi-Fi signals to memories, history, and emotion — gather around and pass through our bodies as we move through the world, creating countless versions of reality that are specific to each of us.
Like the rhinoceros, we absorb all that comes into our vicinity, and in the process we ourselves undergo a constant, often undetectable metamorphosis. Existence itself is thus presented as an accumulation, a collective gathering of physical and metaphorical baggage.
In his use of traditional materials and current technologies, Urs Fischer’s art tests the boundaries of possibility and perception. He has used clay, steel, wax, bread, dirt, vegetables, and fruit, among other substances, often to extreme paradoxical visual effect, revealing a keen attunement to the infinite mutability of image and form. The vicissitudes of objecthood are further complicated when Fischer’s sculptures are installed outside of the typical white-walled gallery.
In a courtyard, a vacated bank, an open field, his extroverted works have acted as portals into the uncanny. Here, the portal opens right between Grand Central Terminal and Bryant Park. An extraordinary creature made up of ordinary parts, Things transports unsuspecting passersby, if just for a moment, into a world that is at once prehistoric, digital, and mysteriously uncharted.
Things was produced in a series of three identical pieces, and all three have been sold to private collectors.
Memorial Day Monday was not the hoped-for sunny day here in NYC, and the grey sky with threat of 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.
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.
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.
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.
This is what the piece looks like shot from the rear and facing Fifth Avenue.
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.