Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Public Art on the HIGH LINE featuring Valerie Hegarty and Richard Galpin

This work that imagines a nineteenth century Hudson River School landscape painting that has been left outdoors, exposed to the elements. Hegarty’s painting is based on Jasper Francis Cropsey’s Autumn on the Hudson River of 1860, a bucolic landscape that shows none of the affects of the Industrial Revolution. Hegarty’s canvas is tattered and frayed, and the partially exposed stretcher bars appear to be morphing into tree branches, as if reverting back to their natural state (from the High Line website)  
The artwork was installed in early November on the fence that divides the completed Section 1 from Section 2 (behind the fence and artwork), which is under construction. 
Park visitors can look through a viewing apparatus lined up with a metal screen (pictured above) from which geometric shapes have been cut. The combination of these two devices gives visitors an altered, abstracted view from the High Line. One of the wonderful experiences the High Line has provided to visitors is a new vista of Manhattan (from the High Line website). 
The sunken observation deck that peers over the street below. The floating, jutting observation platforms--reflective of Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio's long abiding fascination with surveillance and carefully framed vistas.
The High Line was a transit line built in the 1930's to lift freight traffic 30 feet in the air, removing dangerous trains from the streets of Manhattan's industrial district until 1980. When the abandoned historic structure was under threat of demolition, a community-based group was formed to preserve the structure and convert it into an elevated public park.  The park became an instant attraction to locals and tourists alike. Aside from the wild grass and flowering plants, the High Line features a unique presentation of contemporary art in, on and near the park, including the current display photographed above. 

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