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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
No. 103
www.nyc.gov/parks

OUTDOOR ART STEPS INTO DAG HAMMARSKJOLD PLAZA

Zigi Ben-Haim’s “Splendid Step” on View Through May 2004

The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation is pleased to announce the exhibition of Splendid Step by artist Zigi Ben-Haim beginning today at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. The 13-foot sculpture of painted aluminum, steel mesh, and cast stone bears many figurative qualities, such as thin graceful metallic “legs” and a large oval “head”. The artist was particularly drawn to Dag Hammarsjkold Plaza, on the corner of Second Avenue and East 47th Street, for its proximity to the United Nations.

“My Splendid Step represents the small steps that eventually make a difference,” said Ben-Haim. According to the artist,- the sculpture is a reflection of his own multi-cultural experience, and the variety of materials used are like layers of different cultures, each adapting to the other to survive.

Zigi Ben-Haim’s aluminum paintings and sculptures are comprised of an inventive and personal vocabulary of forms and symbols. In his sculptures, he uses his characteristic motifs—images of the leaf, the oval, the brick, the ant—and arranges them into elegant monumental works that suggest the human form. The artist notes that the hand-like leaf in Splendid Step refers to nature and growth. In this piece, the oval form—which he often uses to imply continuity and the beginning of a new cycle—is blue, a color the artist uses to signify continuous motion, air and spirit.

Zigi Ben-Haim was born in Baghdad in 1945, and studied art in Israel and the United States. Ben-Haim’s work is represented by the Stefan Stux gallery in New York and has appeared in numerous solo and group exhibitions in the United States, Europe, and Israel. His works are included in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the Guggenheim, the National Gallery in Washington, Israel Museum and other public and private collections in the United States and abroad. An exhibition of his sculpture, organized by International Arts & Artists, is touring to museums throughout the U.S., including a recent showing at Grounds for Sculpture Hamilton, New Jersey.

Parks & Recreation worked with the Friends of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza to coordinate this installation. Recent exhibitions at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza include Gloria Kisch’s Octopus (2002) and Judith Peck’s Ladies of Steel (2001). Parks & Recreation’s temporary public art program has consistently fostered the creation and installation of temporary public art in parks throughout the five boroughs. Since 1967, collaborations with arts organizations and artists have produced hundreds of public art projects in City parks. Committed to the exhibition of art by emerging and established artists, Parks & Recreation has supported projects ranging from international exhibitions in flagship parks to local, community works in neighborhood parks, playgrounds, and traffic islands.

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