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Volume XXVIII, Number 5809
Tuesday, Mar 05, 2013

Alexandre Arrechea’s No Limits Debuts Along Park Avenue

Rendering of the Seagram Building in Alexandre Arrechea’s  2013 No Limits series for Park Avenue Malls.
Rendering of the Seagram Building in Alexandre Arrechea’s 2013 No Limits series for Park Avenue Malls.
Courtesy of the artist/Magnan Metz Gallery.

Monumental sculptures of iconic New York City buildings are on display along the Park Avenue Malls in No Limits, Alexandre Arrechea’s inaugural NYC public art exhibition.

The exhibit, presented by Magnan Metz Gallery in conjunction with NYC Parks and the Fund for Park Avenue Sculpture Committee, debuted on March 1 and will remain on display through June 9, 2013.

Playing on the idea of elastic architecture as a metaphor for the challenges and opportunities of shifting conditions and new realities, No Limits presents ten massive sculptures embodying New York City’s most prominent buildings. Iconic landmarks represented include the Chrysler Building, Citicorp Center, Empire State Building, Flatiron Building, Helmsley Building, MetLife Building, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, Seagram Building, Sherry Netherland, and US Courthouse. The sculptures, which appear to roll, wind, and spin their way down Park Avenue from 53rd Street to 67th Street, reach towering heights of up to 20 feet.

“Parks has championed public art projects since 1967 and we’re thrilled to have Alexandre Arrechea’s artwork enliven the Park Avenue Malls with bold motifs inspired by the City’s skyline,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White. “The Malls have featured captivating work from talented artists like Rafael Barrios, Will Ryman, Yoshitomo Nara, to name a few, and Alexandre’s work will be a wonderful addition to this distinguished list.”

Throughout his work, Arrechea uses sculpture watercolor and video to ponder the idea of destabilizing traditional concepts held about icons and their function in society. The art is meant to create a dialogue with the public that raises questions of control, power, surveillance and one’s role within these categories. Through iconic architectural buildings and urban spaces, Arrechea plays and entices the viewer to explore this concept.

Arrechea said, “I believe the same way that a building is exposed to daily elements and changes – cold, heat, rain, fog – it is also exposed to constant changes in function – increases and decreases in market value, tenant use, and therefore purpose and social value. These persistent modifications are something I want to capture and embody in my work, creating a new model in constant negotiation with its surroundings. The Park Avenue project presents a form of marriage between New York City landmarks and architectural elements from different backgrounds. These elements, I believe, symbolically parallel facets of the human condition. With this installation, I have created a set of works that confront dynamism vs. static, the whole vs. the fragmented, control vs. chaos, utopia vs. reality. The series provides a new point of access from which to understand the dialog between art and architecture and how this relationship can evolve and open new doors.”

In the Park Avenue exhibit, Arrechea also fuses the familiar structure of architectural landmarks to the bodies of spinning tops, or trompos (toy tops popular in Latin America) as another form of elasticity. The result is a ‘dancing city’ or building in perpetual motion that can continuously spin, wind down, fall, or rise again.


“A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.”

H. L. Mencken
(1880 - 1956)

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