New York City’s High Line has always provided a unique platform for displaying and viewing outdoor works of art. This summer there will be a new way to experience art on the High Line with the opening of the Spur, the newest section of the park and the last stretch of original rail tracks. The Plinth is an exhibition space which will be the focal point of the Spur’s massive plaza. It will allow visitors to view monumental works of art in the round, and will open with an inaugural installation by artist Simone Leigh.
Since the Spur is not open to the public yet, Simone Leigh’s Brick House can currently be seen from the street, towering over 10th Avenue and 30th Street from atop the Plinth. The bronze bust is sixteen feet tall and depicts a Black woman “crowned with an afro framed by cornrow braids along the hairline that extend into four braids, each ending with a cowrie shell.” The sculpture’s domed torso is a combination of a skirt and a clay house adorned with a pattern of elongated ridges.
Brick House is the first work in Leigh’s series Anatomy of Architecture, which will explore the melding of the human body with architectural forms of regions in West Africa and the American South. For the High Line sclupture, Leigh drew on multiple sources of inspiration, from the Batammaliba architecture of Benin and Togo to the restaurant Mammy’s Cupboard in the southern United States. Setting Leigh’s sculpture on the Plinth against the backdrop of New York City’s soaring architecture, visitors to the Spur will be inspired to contemplate how our buildings reflect our own society.
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