M2M Aaron Bell Riverside Park Untapped Cities AFineLyneAaron Bell’s controversial installation “Stand Tall, Stand Loud”

The Art Students League “Model to Monument” (M2M) sculptures arrived in Riverside Park last week. This years theme is “Art in the Public Square,” exploring goodness, roots, perspective, nature in the city, and social cohesion. Models to Monuments is a professional development program for emerging artists, under the direction of The Art Student’s League instructor Greg Wyatt, who is well-known in his own right for the “Peace Fountain” at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. M2M works in partnership with New York City Parks Department.

This is the sixth and final year for M2M in Riverside Park. A new location will be announced for next year. Seven artists were chosen this year, and the seven sculptures will be on view from 59th Street to 69th Street through May, 2017. An additional collaborative sculpture will be on view later this month in Van Cortlandt Park.

7. “Stand Tall, Stand Loud” by Aaron Bell

Aaron Bell Art Students League M2M Untapped Cities AFineLyne

You might recognize the name of artist, Aaron Bell, since his piece entitled “Stand Tall, Stand Loud” has been in the news recently, as the controversial sculpture bearing a noose atop a metal body. Selected as one of the pieces for the Models to Monument program, “Stand Tall, Stand Loud” was created as a statement against hate and bigotry, in keeping with this years’ theme.

While The Art Students League supported his piece, New York City Department of Parks objected to the noose. It was either lose the noose, or lose the coveted spot overlooking the Hudson River. The noose was reluctantly replaced with two wide open mouths, which stand for speaking up for your rights. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was Bell’s inspiration for “Stand Tall.” It was intended to “generate the type of dialogue that will help people recognize the common ground of decency and respect that we all stand on.”

On the base of his piece, these words are inscribed: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” As it stands, overlooking the Hudson River, it has done just that, generating discussion among artists and writers alike. Indeed Mr. Bell accomplished his mission.

Untapped Cities learned that after further consideration, on July 22nd, the New York City Department of Parks allowed the artist to move forward in allowing the original installation, with noose, to be placed atop the metal body. The sculpture, now reflecting the artist’s original intention, stands tall overlooking the Hudson River near 70th Street.

Aaron Bell Stand Tall, Stand Loud with noose Untapped Cities AFineLyneAaron Bell alongside his original sculpture piece, “Stand Tall, Stand Loud.”  Image via nypost

6. “Avis Gloriae Et Lavdis MMXVI and Nature Eternal”  by Sheila Berger

Sheila Berger, Avis Gloriae Untapped Cities AFineLyne

Influenced by her travels to some of the most remote parts of the globe, Sheila Berger creates with surfaces that she hopes will lift us into a celebration of our world and lives. Her installation entitled “Avis Gloriae Et Lavdis MMXVI and Nature Eternal” is made from stainless steel, and steel.

Originally from St. Louis, Ms. Berger was educated at NYU, The Art Students League and New York Academy of the Arts. She has exhibited all around the world, including the Rubin Museum in New York, the Bemis Center in Omaha, the American Consulate in Istanbul, and the U.S. Embassy in Laos. She is a longtime resident of the Chelsea Hotel, previously living in Paris and Italy.

5. “Bridge” by James Emerson

James Emerson Pyramid Bridge Untapped Cities AFineLyne“Bridge” by James Emerson

Artist James Emerson created his installation entitled “Bridge” as a classic pyramid, seeking to promote and cultivate the “goodness” that he sees pervading humanity. From a distance it appears as a pyramid, but as you walk past, you will catch a glimpse of paintings throughout the interior space, which draws you around to a short walking bridge entrance inside the installation.

m2m Bridge by James Emerson Untapped Cities AFineLyne

Mr. Emerson displays messages of “goodness” in pictures surrounding the interior of the installation and overlooking the Hudson River. Behind to the right, Sarah Thompson Moore’s installation “Everything Between” can be seen.

Interior of Bridge by James Emerson Riverside Park Untapped Cities AFineLyne

4. “Everyone Breaks” by Tanda Francis

M2M Riverside Park Tanda Francis Untapped Cities AFineLyne“Everything Breaks” by Tanda Francis can be found just past the 69th Street entrance in Riverside Park

You may recognize Tanda Francis’ name from a GoFundMe site, helping to raise money to bronze and display her Notorious B.I.G. sculpture. This year, for M2M, Ms. Francis created a thoughtful piece considering the range of positive and negative experiences viewers will each face in a lifetime. Entitled “Everyone Breaks,” Ms. Francis explores how individuals are “shattered by disappointments” as we journey through life, marching forward, ever stronger.

3. “Leaves of Grass” by Markus Rudolph Holtby

Markus Rudolph Holtby Leaves of Grass Untapped Cities AFineLyne“Leaves of Grass” by artist Markus Rudolph Holtby

Trained as an architect at the University of Maryland, Markus Rudolph Holtby moved to New York City in 1997. Mr. Holtby considers his art to be his inner voice, working primarily in multi-media and sculpture formats. For M2M, he created “Leaves of Grass” representing a re-purposed industrial park.

m2m Riverside Park year 6 Untapped Cities AFineLyneView of Riverside Park, with “Leaves of Grass” in the forefront, followed by “Bridge” and “Everything Between”

2. “Everything Between” by Sarah Thompson Moore

Sarah Thompson Moore m2m Riverside Park Untapped Cities AFineLyne“Everything Between” by artist Sarah Thompson Moore

Hailing from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Sarah Thompson Moore is the first sculptor chosen for M2M from outside The Art Students League. Her sculpture, “Everything Between,” is meant to heighten our senses and alter the perspectives of the viewer while in Riverside Park. From its perch overlooking the Hudson River, the setting of her piece is meant to serve as a space for inspiration and contemplation.

1. “Fragments” by Shiho Sato

Shiho Sato Fragments Untapped Cities AFineLyne“Fragments” by Shiho Sato

If you enter Riverside Park on 59th Street, the first of the M2M sculptures you will see will be artist Shiho Sato’s three monumental forms entitled “Fragments.” Born in Japan, Ms. Sato moved to Mexico to begin a career in art. Her travels through Central and South America, Africa, and Europe brought out her strong interest in figurative expression. Ms. Sato moved to New York City in 2009.

m2m Shiho Sato Riverside Park Fragments Untapped Cities AFineLyne

m2m Riverside Park year 6 Untapped Cities AFineLyneThe view from 59th Street, along Riverside Park, looking north

View more art installations in New York City parks, and the art installations not to miss this month. Get in touch with the author at AFineLyne.