I’ve always been fascinated by public art installations. I have some understanding in the complexity of organizing such an event and the patience needed to deal with the red tape and bureaucracy as well as handling a team of people to put it together.
Last week, New York City inaugurated a beautiful public art installation by artist Orly Genger in Madison Square Park. The images are stunning. I highly recommend you see it in person.
New York City Officials and the Madison Square Park Conservancy gathered on Wednesday, May 1, 2013, for the inauguration of Red, Yellow and Blue (2013) by artist Orly Genger. A commission of the Conservancy’s Mad. Sq. Art program, the large-scale work features the artist’s renowned usage of intricately hand-knotted nautical rope covered in paint, transforming the park’s lush lawns into colorfully lined chambers. The work will remain on view in Madison Square Park daily from May 2 through September 8, 2013 before traveling to Massachusetts’s deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in October 2013 as the first touring commission of Mad. Sq. Art.
Genger’s work artfully transcends the perceived limits of the materials she employs. This Mad. Sq. Art commission consists of 1.4 million feet of knotted rope—the total length equating to nearly 20 times the length of Manhattan—covered in more than 3,000 gallons of paint, and weighing more than 100,000 pounds. Red, Yellow and Blue employs repurposed rope collected from hundreds of miles up and down the Eastern seaboard, bringing elements of the coastline to the urban setting of Madison Square Park. Together, three separate undulating structures of layered rope shaped on-site by the artist redefines the Park’s landscape, creating interactive environments that invite visitors to explore both exposed and hidden spaces, encouraging them to navigate and experience Madison Square Park anew.
“Madison Square Park has become a favorite destination for New Yorkers and visitors alike, thanks in large part to the vision of the Mad. Sq. Art program,” saidMayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “New York artist Orly Genger’s Red, Yellow and Blue encourages us to see the park in a new light and will make us think – exactly what contemporary art is supposed to do.”
With a title referencing Barnett Newman’s Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue? series from the late 1960’s, Genger’s exhibition calls on the minimalistic traditions of Richard Serra and Frank Stella, while allowing for Genger’s own distinct contemporary aesthetic to emerge outdoors. As she adopts the intimate, domestic, and traditionally “feminine” activity of knitting, Genger creates large-scale, monolithic, “masculine” constructions that actively challenge and engage those who experience her work.
Artist Orly Genger states, “For Madison Square Park I wanted to create a work that would impress in scale and still engage rather than intimidate. In the context of my other installations, the rope used for Big Boss (2010) at MASS MoCA comprises only 10% of the rope used for the project at Madison Square Park, allowing me to work at an unprecedented scale. The tradition of knitting carries the sharing of stories and the installation draws on that idea. The repurposed rope brings with it the stories of different locations and by knotting it, a space is created for the words and thoughts of viewers in New York City to complete the work, creating a silent dialogue that waves along.”
“Through its exciting public art program, the Madison Square Park Conservancy invites visitors to engage with this neighborhood in dynamic new ways,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin. “Orly Genger’s vibrant installation is another wonderful example of our City’s commitment to hosting extraordinary artists and transforming public spaces into platforms for ‘once in a lifetime’ experiences.”
“Thanks to the City’s partnership with the Madison Square Park Conservancy, the Park has emerged as a flourishing urban oasis,” said Veronica M. White, Commissioner of New York City’s Department of Parks & Recreation. “Each year, the Park hosts innovative and eye-catching public art exhibits that engage the eyes and minds of our visitors. We are delighted to welcome Red, Yellow and Blue by Orly Genger, continuing the tradition of free, contemporary art here in Madison Square Park.”
President of the Madison Square Park Conservancy, Debbie Landau comments:
“After ten amazing years, Mad. Sq. Art has entered a new phase of programming with our first-ever touring commission. Orly Genger’s Red, Yellow and Blue is very dear to us as the piece, while site-specific, does not begin and end with us here in the Flatiron district. This October, the installation will travel up the eastern seaboard, touching base with locations from which its materials are supplied, and be on view at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum where it will be reimaged and reshaped to reflect deCordova’s own distinct environment. We are thrilled to have commissioned a new work by Orly and are delighted that Red, Yellow and Blue will be seen by new audiences as it travels.
The installation in Madison Square Park coincides with an exhibition of the artist’s work, Iron Maiden, on view at the Larissa Goldston Gallery in New York through June 22, 2013.