Dag Hammarskjold Plaza

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Catch Celebrated Artwork In The World’s Largest Outdoor Museum

Winter, some say, is the best time to enjoy Parks & Recreation’s rich selection of outdoor art and monuments. Who can forget last year’s celebrity installation, The Gates, juxtaposed so beautifully against the bare gray trees and, later, crisp white snow?

With eight temporary works now on display, there’s no shortage of outdoor art offerings organized by Parks’ Arts and Antiquities division, which has produced hundreds of public art projects in New York City’s parks since 1967. Four of these installations have recently been extended, giving art connoisseurs and novices alike even more time to enjoy them this winter.

World-renowned artist Deborah Butterfield’s Deep Time, Cicada and Wilder, for example, has just been extended until March 6. These three life-size horse depictions are perched on the Park Avenue Malls between 52nd and 54th Streets against a bustling backdrop of classic New York skyscrapers. The sculptures, created from scrap metal and driftwood and cast in bronze, are presented in cooperation with the Edward Thorp Gallery. Butterfield, who lives n Montana, has shown her work everywhere from the San Diego Museum of Art to the Contemporary Museum in Honolulu.

Sol LeWitt’s two site-specific artworks will remain in Madison Square Park until February 6. Circle with Towers is a three-foot-high concrete block ring punctuated by eight towers at equal intervals; Curved Wall with Towers is an 85-foot-long curving wall with 14 towers placed at equal intervals. The two pieces demonstrate LeWitt’s career-long fascination with the cube as a modular unit. LeWitt’s Conceptual and Minimal work has been the subject of hundreds of solo exhibitions in museums and galleries, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Tate Gallery in London, The Kunsthalle in Bern, and the Stedelijk in Amsterdam.

Marjorie Kouns’ Well Lit Chess Pieces in Washington Square Park, originally slated to come down last September, has recently been extended through April 9. The installation consists of 11 oversized chess pieces made of welded steel and plastic-chip mesh near the park’s chess tables, and 26 multicolored vinyl lampshade covers that sit atop the lampposts along the four corner entrances. Kouns, a local artist who focuses on public art, has maintained a studio near Washington Square Park for more than 20 years. This installation is a nod to that common urban practice of using parkland as a personal living space.

At Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza, Spanish artist Francisco Leiro’s five massive wrought-iron figures (Speechless I-IV and Caracalla) will remain until February 8. Though faceless, the works are expressive in their gestures: one swings massive arms and legs forward, evoking a warrior’s brave determination; the heavily anchored position of another suggests a royal bearing. These roughly hewn, powerful images have their roots in the Galician sculpture of the artist’s Spanish heritage. Madrid-trained Leiro was part of the highly influential Atlántica group during the 1980’s, and has work in museum collections in Spail, Portugal, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States.



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Niels Bohr


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