FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Public Artwork By Brooklyn Artist Leonard Ursachi Installed In Prospect Park
NYC Parks and the Prospect Park Alliance are pleased to announce the opening of Leonard Ursachi’s exhibit Fat Boy in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Located on the lawn of historic Litchfield Villa near the entrance at Prospect Park West and 5th Street, the sculpture will be on view from May 1, 2015 through November 10, 2015. A reception will be held on site on May 1, 2015 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
The latest in Ursachi’s decades-long “bunker” series, Fat Boy is an oversized head embedded with three recessed embrasures fitted with mirrors. Measuring 9.5 feet tall and 8.5 feet wide, the artwork was carved from styrofoam and covered in a weatherproof, cementitious material. Fat Boy is Ursachi’s first bunker sculpture in the form of a head. His previous bunkers, one of which was on view at the entrance of Prospect Park off Grand Army Plaza in 2007, have been cylindrical and made with a variety of materials such as turkey feathers, willow branches, and ceramic tiles. “My bunkers reference not only war but also nests, shelter and refuge. They are as much about longing for home as they are about conflict,” states Ursachi.
Fat Boy is based on a classical Western putto, or male child often depicted in Renaissance and Baroque artworks. “Since antiquity,” says the artist, “putti have been malleable signifiers, representing, among other things, Eros, panic, abandon, and joy.” Fat Boy’s title derives not only from his plump, cherubic face, but also from the WWII atomic bombs, Little Boy and Fat Man, giving the sculpture twin references to Eros and war.
Fat Boy was first exhibited at the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida, which is a partial sponsor of this exhibit.
Leonard Ursachi was born in Romania, from which he defected in 1980. He has exhibited internationally, including a solo exhibition in 2008 at MNAC, Romania’s National Museum of Contemporary Art in Bucharest. Elisabeth Sussman, curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, has called Ursachi’s work “thought provoking and quite moving . . . dealing with an important aspect of our culture and . . . both sensitive and intelligent.” This is Ursachi’s fifth temporary public artwork with NYC Parks. His installations include Open House in Tribeca Park, Manhattan in 2002; Refuge in Duarte Square, Manhattan in 2004; Hiding Place in Prospect Park, Brooklyn in 2007; and Well in Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn in 2011.
Brooklyn Public Library will host Behind Fat Boy, a companion exhibition to Leonard Ursachi's Fat Boy sculpture, from June 12 to September 25, 2015. Behind Fat Boy will feature original sketches and maquettes of Fat Boy along with other materials that illuminate Ursachi’s bunker series. The exhibition will be housed at Central Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza, in the first floor lobby gallery on the southwest side of the building, adjacent to the passport office.
Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is an independent library system for the 2.5 million residents of Brooklyn. It is the fifth largest library system in the United States with 60 neighborhood libraries located throughout the borough. BPL offers free programs and services for all ages and stages of life, including a large selection of books in more than 30 languages, author talks, literacy programs and public computers. BPL’s eResources, such as eBooks and eVideos, catalog information and free homework help, are available to customers of all ages 24 hours a day at our website: www.bklynlibrary.org.
The Prospect Park Alliance is a non-profit organization that partners with the City of New York to preserve and maintain Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s flagship park. The Alliance cares for the natural environment, restores historic design, and provides public programs and amenities for the Park, which receives more than 10 million visits each year. For more information, please visit www.prospectpark.org.
NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks 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 New York City parks. For more information visit www.nyc.gov/parks/art.