This is TAKASHI MURAKAMI's "OVAL BUDDHA," a huge piece of sculpture on view at the indoor public sculpture garden at 590 Madison Avenue facing 56th Street. It weighs 6,613 lbs. and more than 18 1/2 feet tall, and was originally intended for exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. Because it couldn't fit into the Brooklyn Museum, the sculpture was then taken to its present location in midtown Manhattan. The quirky steel and aluminum sculpture is covered with platinum leaf and "reflects the artist's evolving body, mind, and spirit and his continuing exploration of his cultural, national, religious, and artistic reality." Murakami is is a prolific contemporary Japanese artist who works in both fine arts media, such as painting, as well as digital and commercial media. He attempts to blur the boundaries between high and low art, and makes his art available to different kinds of items including limited edition Louis Vuitton handbags.
The sculpture plaza is free and open to the public, and has plenty of tables for a brown-bag lunch. "Oval Buddha" will remain in Midtown until September 7. The Brooklyn exhibition will close July 13. On June 1, Louis Vuitton will launch Murakami's new Monogramouflage line at the museum.