Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Public Warhol in a Public Square

Although winter hasn’t even started, there is already a lineup of public art projects scheduled for New York this spring. The Public Art Fund will be installing three sculpture exhibitions: at Union Square, City Hall Park and Doris C. Freedman Plaza, at Fifth Avenue and 60th Street.

“These aren’t site-specific installations; they are site-responsive,” said Nicholas Baume, director and chief curator of the Public Art Fund, the nonprofit organization that presents art around the city. “They are all linked because they use New York City as a context.”

Perhaps the most surprising will be a 10-foot-tall bronze sculpture of Andy Warhol in Union Square (March 30 to Oct. 2). This will be only the second time the Public Art Fund has installed art there: the last project was “Woman’s Work” in 1993, the artist Rhonda Roland Shearer’s eight bronze sculptures of women scrubbing toilets, vacuuming and shopping for groceries while clutching squirming children to their bosoms.

But the New York artist Rob Pruitt chose this bustling area for the Warhol sculpture, called “The Andy Monument.” He had a particular corner in mind, at 17th Street and Broadway, just outside the building that once housed Warhol’s Factory. The sculpture depicts Warhol as he looked in the 1970s, in his signature fright wig, blue jeans and a tweed jacket. He is posed with a camera around his neck, carrying a shopping bag full of issues of Interview magazine, the publication he helped found.

“It’s conceived as a classical monument although it’s very contemporary,” Mr. Baume said. “It’s a real public Andy from the period where he would stand in Union Square giving out the magazines.”

By contrast, the London-based sculptor Eva Rothschild has claimed the plaza at the entrance to Central Park for a delicate work that she said would take “the form of a multidirectional arch.” The piece, which will be on view March 1 to Aug. 28, will rise nearly 20 feet and spill over the center of the plaza. Fashioned from red, green and black steel tubing four inches in diameter, it will echo the branches of trees in the park and be, as Ms. Rothschild put it, “another gateway between two different worlds of urban experience.”

Back downtown, in City Hall Park, more than 20 sculptures by Sol LeWitt will be installed from May 25 through Dec. 2. LeWitt, who died in 2007, was known for his Minimalist geometric work, and Mr. Baume has assembled large-scale pieces dating from the 1960s through 2006, including many that will be seen in this country for the first time. They will come from private collections and museums both here and abroad.

“There hasn’t been a career overview of his structures,” Mr. Baume said.

No comments:

Post a Comment