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Central Park

View all monuments in NYC Parks, as well as temporary public art installations on our NYC Public Art Map and Guide.

Bird Flying Machine

History

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found postedwithin the park.

This distinctive bronze sculpture by Dolly Perutz (1908-1979) is situated on the roof of The Arsenal, the site of Parks headquarters and former home of the Museum of Natural History. Cast at Modern Art Foundry in Astoria, Queens, the work consists of a modeled bird’s head and feet connected by stylized plumage made from welded bronze plates.

Sculptor Dolly Perutz was born in Prague and moved to the United States during early adulthood. While her art would always exhibit the influence of central European folklore and imagination, Perutz’s medium evolved throughout her career, as woodblock prints gave way to playful lithographs, encaustic studies, and sculptures. In the mid-1960s, when many artists were exploring conceptual or pop references, Perutz abandoned her figurative style and began to experiment with abstract juxtapositions of color and texture, creating her first wax sculpture molds.

A sense of surrealistic dreaming posed with pleasant humor layered Perutz’s work as she moved into three-dimensional art. Taking her cue from the “gothic bestiary” of Jean Dubuffet, she based her sculptures on the same principles of juxtaposition that had informed her encaustics in the previous decade. Bird Flying Machine, with its organic head and feet set against smooth, polished feathers, embodies this jarring ideal.

Perutz has had numerous one-person exhibitions in New York City and elsewhere; her works are in many public collections including the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and Fordham University. Exhibited at Bodley Gallery in 1981, this sculpture was executed in 1973, and installed on the Arsenal Roof in 1991.

Bird Flying Machine Details

  • Location: Arsenal South Roof, southwest corner facing southwest turret
  • Sculptor: Dolly Hellman Perutz
  • Description: Figure on integral plinth
  • Materials: Bronze
  • Dimensions: Figure H: 2'9" W: 4'; weight: 130 pounds
  • Cast: 1973
  • Dedicated: 1991
  • Foundry: Modern Art Foundry
  • Donor: Tino Perutz

Please note, the NAME field includes a primary designation as well as alternate namingsoften in common or popular usage. The DEDICATED field refers to the most recent dedication, most often, butnot necessarily the original dedication date. If the monument did not have a formal dedication, the yearlisted reflects the date of installation.

For more information, please contact Art & Antiquities at (212) 360-8143

Directions to Central Park

Know Before You Go

There are currently 3 service interruptions affecting access within this park.

ParkCentral Park

Beginning June 27, 2018, Central Park will become entirely car-free. The Central Park transverse roads at 97th, 86th, 79th and 65th Streets will remain open to motor vehicles.

Nature CentersBelvedere Castle Visitor Center

Beginning Monday, February 26, Belvedere Castle will be closed for restoration. The castle will reopen to the public in 2019. To reach our Urban Park Rangers at Central Park, please call (212) 360-1444.

ParkCentral Park

Beginning Monday, February 26, Belvedere Castle will be closed for restoration. The surrounding plaza and terrace remain open, but will also close in the coming weeks. The Belvedere will reopen to the public in 2019. For more information on the restoration of Belvedere Castle, please visit Central Park Conservancy's website.

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