The bear figures in so much of mythology, folklore and fairytales that it’s not surprising there are many monuments to the noble animal in New York City. Here’s a roundup of bears both past and present, ranging from fun to conceptual, that have graced the public realm of the city.
1. “Bearlike Construction” in Tribeca Park
This bronze trash bag-inspired teddy bear is part of NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks program and is by Korean artist Gimhonsok. It aims to play on the ubiquitousness of garbage bags on the streets of New York City. “Bearlike Construction” will be on display until November 2014.
In 1987, E.P. Dutton, the American publisher of the Winnie the Pooh books donated the eponymous stuffed animal to the New York Public Library. Winnie the Pooh currently resides along with Kanga, Piglet, Eeyore, and Tigger in the Children’s Center of the New York Public Library’s Main Branch. The stuffed animals, which served as the inspiration for the stories were a first birthday present, purchased at Harrods, to Christopher Robin Milne.
3. Urs Fischer Untitled (Lamp/Bear) at the Seagram Building (2011)
This oversized stuffed animal bear and lamp sculpture by Urs Fischer was exhibited on Park Avenue’s Seagram Building plaza in 2011. It weighed 20 tons and sold for $6.8 million, a bit short of the $10 million Christie’s had hoped to get for it. The Seagram Building is also home to the Four Seasons Restaurant and the recently saved Picasso tapestry.
4. Dancing Bear Sculpture in Central Park
The Dancing Bear is a WPA sculpture by Frederick George Richard Roth, located inside the Central Park Zoo. It has a paired sculpture, the Dancing Goat, located in another niche on the Delacorte musical clock.
5. Alfred Lincoln Seligman Fountain (Bear and Faun), Morningside Park
This working bronze water fountain by sculptor Edgar Walter is located in Morningside Park, featuring a bear discovering a faun (a blend here between man and goat) in a grotto. It’s named the Alfred Lincoln Seligman Fountain in memory of the vice-president of the National Highways Protective Association, who died ironically in an automobile accident.
6. Greenpoint Bear
This sad bar has its own hashtag, located behind metal bars on Greenpoint Avenue. #Greenpointbear has almost 100 photographs on Instagram since its first appearance mid-June, but appears to have lost his Bacardi bottle over this past weekend. Someone help him!
7. Group of Bears, Central Park
The trio of bears sits in the Pat Hoffman Friedman Playground near the Central Park entrance at 79th Street and 5th Avenue. There are smaller versions of the same sculpture are located on memorial gates found at the Bronx Zoo, and in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The sculptor, Paul Manship, also did the Prometheus sculpture at Rockefeller Center.
8. Bear Eats Man Sculpture (2013)
Thordis Adalsteinsdottir, ‘Bear Eats Man,’ ‘The Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition 2013,’ Image courtesy the Artist and Socrates Sculpture Park.
This controversial sculpture “Bear Eats Man” was on display last December in Socrates Sculpture Park as part of an Emerging Artists Fellowship Competition, to the dismay of various residents and visitors who found it “lewd and inappropriate.” The sculpture park defended the sculpture by Thordis Adalsteinsdottir as a “thought provoking work of art.”
To find out why she’s obsessed with bears, get in touch with the author @untappedmich.