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Volume XXV, Number 5208
Tuesday, Jun 01, 2010

Miranda July’s Eleven Heavy Things in Union Square

A piece of artwork from Miranda July’s Eleven Heavy Things.
A piece of artwork from Miranda July’s Eleven Heavy Things.

New York City’s Department of Parks & Recreation is pleased to announce the exhibition, Eleven Heavy Things by Miranda July on display until October 3, 2010 in Union Square Park. The exhibition, a series of 11 sculptures that encourage viewer interaction, was first exhibited within Giardino delle Vergini in Italy for the 53rd International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale. This second incarnation of Eleven Heavy Things marks its United States debut.

“Eleven Heavy Things by Miranda July will provide another exciting reason to visit Union Square Park this summer,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “The interactive exhibit works well in the park, which is known for showcasing some of the world’s best contemporary sculptures, in addition to housing an impressive collection of historic monuments. I would like to thank Deitch Projects, the Union Square Partnership, and Parks Public Art Program for bringing this multi-talented artist to Union Square Park.”

“Union Square has something for everyone and the excitement created by Miranda July’s Eleven Heavy Things, along with the renovated plazas, new play space, and lush landscaping makes the district a must-see destination this summer,” said Union Square Partnership Executive Director Jennifer Falk. “We are proud that Ms. July has chosen Union Square Park as the exhibition’s first stop after its debut at the Venice Bienniale, and we are looking forward to seeing visitors interact with the sculptures to create their own unique experience in Union Square.”

The cast fiber-glass, steel-lined pieces are designed for interaction: pedestals to stand on, tablets with holes, and free-standing abstract headdresses. A series of three pedestals in ascending height, The Guilty One, The Guiltier One, The Guiltiest One, ask the viewer to ascribe his or her guilt relative to the people around him. A large flat shape, painted with Burberry plaid, hovers on a pole, waiting to become someone’s aura. Another hanging shape looks like an intricate lace headdress. A series of tablets invite heads, arms, legs and one finger. A wider pedestal for two people to hug reads, “We don’t know each other, we’re just hugging for the picture.” July assumes and invites the picture — 11 photo opportunities, in a city where one is always clutching a camera. Though the work begins as sculpture, it becomes a performance that is only complete when these tourist photos are uploaded onto personal blogs and sent in emails — at which point the audience changes, and the subject clearly becomes the participants, revealing themselves through the work.

Miranda July is a filmmaker, artist, performer and writer. She grew up in Berkeley, California where as a teenager she began her career, writing and directing plays. July’s videos, performances, and web-based projects have been presented at sites such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum and in the 2002 and 2004 Whitney Biennials. She wrote, directed and starred in her first feature-length film, Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005), which won a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival and four prizes at the Cannes Film Festival, including the Camera d’Or. Her fiction has been printed in McSweeney’s, Harper’s, and The New Yorker. She lives in Los Angeles, where she is currently working on a new feature film, The Future.

Eleven Heavy Things is presented by Deitch Projects as its final public project. The work is exhibited in cooperation with the Union Square Partnership. Following the close of Deitch Projects, Eleven Heavy Things will be managed by Suzanne Geiss with Alexxa Gotthardt as project coordinator.

Parks & Recreation’s temporary public art program has consistently fostered the creation and installation of public art in parks throughout the five boroughs. Since 1967, collaborations with art organizations and artists have produced more than 1,000 public art displays in New York City parks.


“So sweet, so sweet the roses in their blowing,
So sweet the daffodils, so fair to see;
So blithe and gay the humming-bird a going
From flower to flower, a-hunting with the bee.”

Nora Perry, In June
(1841 – 1896)

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