On Friday morning, the Oculus’ morning commute crowd noticed a new structure in the middle of the floor. “Live 4 Love” is reminiscent of an inflatable children’s bouncy castle, with brightly colored abstract shapes shooting out at every angle. Many stopped for a moment to snap a picture, while several children passing by ran underneath to get a glimpse of its underbelly.
“Live 4 Love” was a collaboration of two Australian artists, architect Maurice Goldberg and film and stage designer Matthew Aberline, to illustrate the history of the LGBTQIA+ community in three dimensions. The installation commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising as a defining feature of New York’s Pride month. It is funded by The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, Silverstein Properties, Westfield World Trade Center, and the Alliance for Downtown New York.
Goldberg and Aberline were first commissioned to create pride-related art for Sydney’s Mardi Gras Parade last year. Their first work was a larger pavilion-esque structure, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Australian Civil Rights Revolution, Sydney’s equivalent of Stonewall. Its arrival in the Oculus marks the first time the installation has been displayed both outside of Australia, and in an indoor space.
The artists used a variety of unconventional materials to execute the project, including spinnaker cloth, usually used on sailboats, printed graphic and textiles, and webbing. The structure is even more brilliant at night, when it will be illuminated, thanks to LED lights placed on the inside. It’s also surprisingly portable—when transporting the work overseas, Goldberg managed to fit the entire work into an astonishing two suitcases. “Maurice is really good at origami,” explained Aberline.
“Live 4 Love” looks like a vivid collage of color and shapes, but a closer look reveals the symbolism that inspired the artists. Aberline described his work, “On the first level its all about fun, and its about love, and its about joy, and its about color, but when you look at it in a deeper way, it has a greater depth to it.” In one corner, for instance, is a pink triangle, the symbol used by the Nazis to mark and target homosexuals, and later associated with the AIDS epidemic. Another section is Keith Haring-inspired, but updated to include gender diversity. Aberline also pointed out a group of pink squiggles on another part, a representation of inclusion contributed by a gay Aboriginal artist.
“[The work is] a microcosm of all these different stories, the bad stuff like the oppression of disease and illness, of people fighting to be who they want to be smashed together with all the great stories about freedom and love and joy.”
Aberline says that at the end of the day, the reward is witnessing the public interact with the work. “Our work is about happiness and it’s about play, it’s really lovely seeing people engage with it and be part of it and understand it.
“Live 4 Love” will remain at the Oculus until the 28th. It will make a second appearance during the Pride March on the 30th. Goldberg and Aberline will also be responsible for other creations for the March, including inflatable costumes. From there, the pair will display the work in London for a few days.