A ballerina caught mid-leap, triathletes preparing for the next round, and a big apple. Public art fills New York, and these are three out of a seven piece temporary installation at Riverside Park South on view until May 15. The third in a five-part partnership between the Art Students League and the New York Parks Department, the theme of this year’s Model 2 Monument, also called M2M, is on “the public square: role and responsibility of the artist.”
Each piece showcases the artist’s individual point of view and style. Yet together, the exhibit works as a celebration of public space. Beginning at West 60th and continuing up to West 69th Street, the works explore themes such as environmental responsibility, the city’s diverse mix of cultural activities, and New York as a melting pot.
John N. Erianne’s “Frolicking Stray” took four months of “pounding” on metal sheets to create. Erianne wanted to draw upon the piece’s proximity to Lincoln Center, saying the sculpture “personifies a celebration of the arts. Midtown Manhattan is a hub for the visual and performing arts and she represents the joyous celebration of the artist as a human being.”
The artists participating in the M2M program underwent a nine-month preparation period, where they reviewed everything from sculptural techniques and the importance of location to the artwork itself to “actual ditch-digging.” Above, the work of Japanese artist Reina Kubota “Ringo,”—Japanese for apple—is a reflection of love in and for New York City.
Sherwin Banfield created “Transitions through Triathlon,” inspired by the “cultural carnival aesthetics” of the Caribbean. Banfield moved to America when he was ten years old from his birthplace of Trinidad & Tobago. The sculpture celebrates the artist’s vibrant cultural background and his experience as an active Triathlete.
Evoking Seurat, Beñat Iglesias Lopez used historical photos of swimmers and sailors along the Hudson River as a source. The figures all have a common theme but hold disparate poses to unsettle viewers.
Anna Kuchel Rabinowitz took on the issues of global warming and climate change with her two-piece “Preservation”. A buoy is anchored to a park bench while nearer the river, a young boy stands on top of a rock formation. Both pieces provoke viewers into conversations on the rising tides.
Morito Yasumitsu used this “Spirit” to contemplate the diversity of New York. A female figure, made of bronze and bonded steel, is rising from what the artist calls the “melting pot”. She protects herself in an embrace, as she forms a new identity.
Anne Stanner‘s “Wave” provides a commentary of the river’s ecology, with fish swimming and leaping among “curved triangles” of a stainless steel wave. Stanner was inspired to create the “Wave” after hearing about a highway project, scrapped in the 1980s to protect the river’s seabass population.
On display until May 15th, the Art Students League provides a map of the M2M Year Three online.