Friday, September 30, 2011

Defying Gravity In Union Square: "Gran Elefandret" By Miquel Barceló

A big elephant standing on its trunk is the latest public art installation in Union Square. Barcelo’s immense Gran Elefandret, balances upright on its trunk, its four massive legs outspread searching for equilibrium. At twenty-six feet tall the sculpture brilliantly portrays an extraordinary, if not impossible physical and cultural feat; this contemporary monument believably captures with humor, scale and Spanish courage the essence of what a public monument can be today. 

To further communicate the gravity-defying feat beyond the surprisingly slim trunk and large body, Barceló imparts the mass and weight of the creature through the downward sag of the heavily wrinkled skin, the off-kilter positioning of the huge legs, and the complete overturning of the floppy ears. The highly textured surface of the elephant recalls the artist’s tactile paintings, in which he creates rich topographic, sculpted surfaces on canvas.

Barceló, born in Mallorca in 1957, has spent considerable time in West Africa, and his paintings and sculptures often are often concerned with the natural life cycle.

Information from Art in the Parks website

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mexican Day Celebration

New York’s Mexican Day Parade was held last Sunday on Madison Avenue. It was a wonderful and fun parade that featured the most vivid and colorful floats, folkloric dancers and Mariachis. A variety of different musical groups and beautiful, traditional costumes were also highlighted. An impressive number of community contingencies, floats, marching bands and musical groups provided a festive and lively mood to the annual celebration of Mexican culture.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Double Check" By Seward Johnson - The Survivor Sculpture

Double Check by Seward Johnson, ©1982 The Sculpture Foundation
Double Check by Seward Johnson, ©1982 The Sculpture Foundation

Seward Johnson's 1982 sculpture, "Double Check" for Zuccotti Park (formerly called Liberty Plaza Park) shows a very lifelike "everyman" businessman sitting in the park. The bronze businessman sculpture survived the  September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks of the nearby World Trade Center covered in debris bearing scratches and bruises. Johnson has called his sculpture an iconic "stand-in" for those who didn't make it, a poignant reminder of hope and endurance for us all. Zuccotti Park is located in Lower Manhattan near the World Trade Center, and is bounded by Broadway, Trinity, Liberty and Cedar Streets.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

IBM THINK Exhibit's Digital Wall at Lincoln Center

IBM's THINK Exhibit is an interactive technology exhibit at Lincoln Center that explores the role of technology in improving our daily lives and the world we live in. The exhibit includes videos, touch screen maps, interactive media panels and mobile applications. The most visible element of the exhibit is the large digital wall, stretching 123 feet outside the converted parking garage of Lincoln Center on Columbus Avenue. The digital wall visualizes real-time live streaming data from the surrounding areas including traffic on Broadway, solar energy use on the Upper West Side, and air quality throughout Manhattan. The billboard-sized digital display shows how we use the world around us and illuminates on a local scale the many opportunities for changes to be made. The IBM Think Exhibit runs from September 23rd to October 23rd and is located at the Lincoln Center parking garage on Jaffe Drive.

Monday, September 26, 2011

TORNADO By Michael Sailstorfer

This is the new art installation at the Doris Freedman Plaza in Central Park near The Plaza. "Tornado" is the first public commission in the United States by Berlin-based artist Michael Sailstorfer. It is a powerful response to the attributes of the site, for which it was conceived, and to the epic scale of New York City.

Rising more than 30 feet to meet the treetops of Central Park, Tornado brings together a series of opposite terms. It combines lightness and weight, with looming black “clouds” made from inflated truck tire inner tubes that gently shift in the breeze. Its muscular steel armature zigzags from top to bottom while the ballooning rubber forms that hang in bunches from its spiraling arms are knotted together in bulging clusters. Like a tornado, which is violently powerful but also literally made of air, Sailstorfer’s towering work provides a visceral experience of sculptural form and materials in tension, massive but also vulnerable.

Tornado is the largest in a series of the artist’s sculptures that draw on rubber tires, inner tubes, and ideas of movement and velocity. Much of his work engages with natural forces and the way we perceive them through form and physical space. At the same time, there is often a hint of whimsy in Sailstorfer’s art, conjuring a sense of playfulness, backyard experimentation, and visual wit. The exhibit runs through February 19, 2012. (Information from the Art in the Parks website.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Newly Opened National September 11 Memorial (9/11 Memorial) - Twin Reflecting Pools

South Pool

A cascade of water that describes the perimeter of each square feeds the pools with a continuous stream. They are large voids, open and visible reminders of the absence.
Memorial names inscribed on bronze parapets (lit at night) surrounding the pools. Names have been stencil-cut into the parapets, allowing visitors to look through the names at the water, and to create paper impressions or rubbings of individual names. At night, light shines up through the voids created by each letter of a name.
Daytime image of the pool
Memorial Plaza
North Pool with the 9/11 Museum Pavilion in the background
9/11 Museum Pavilion (under construction)
The "Survivor Tree" is a callery pear that survived the devastion, preserved for re-planting, and now replanted at the Memorial Plaza.
Lamp posts evoke the architecture of the Twin Towers
video (from IsraeliPM) of NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg showing Israel Prime Minister the 9/11 Memorial

The National September 11 Memorial or 9/11 Memorial opened to the public last September 12. The memorial is a tribute of remembrance and honor to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center site, near Shanksville, Pa., and at the Pentagon, as well as the six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993.

The Memorial’s twin reflecting pools are each nearly an acre in size and feature the largest manmade waterfalls in the North America. The pools sit within the footprints where the Twin Towers once stood. Architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker created the Memorial design selected from a global design competition that included more than 5,200 entries from 63 nations.

The names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed into bronze panels edging the Memorial pools, a powerful reminder of the largest loss of life resulting from a foreign attack on American soil and the greatest single loss of rescue personnel in American history.

The photos of the memorial were taken yesterday, September 24, 2011.

To visit the 9/11 Memorial, free advance passes are required and are available through the Memorial's online reservation system (see website below). A limited number of passes for same day visits are also available daily at the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site at 20 Vesey St (at Church St.) beginning at 9:00 AM, the NYC & Co. kiosk at City Hall and the NY Water Taxi booth at the South Street Seaport (limited to 4 passes per person on a first-come, first-served basis).

Information from the 9/11 Memorial website

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Figures At The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden Of MoMA

Katarina Fritsch, "Figurengruppe" (2006-2008)
Henry Moore, "Family Group (1948-1949, cast 1950, Bronze)
Max Ernst, "The King Playing With The Queen" (1944, cast 1954), Bronze
Elie Nadelman, "Man In The Open Air" (c. 1915), Bronze
Gaston Lachaise, "Floating Figure"  (1927, cast 1935), Bronze

These sculptures are currently on view at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden of the Museum of Modern Art. The installation brings together figurative works from the late 19th century to the present day.