The 12th annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition work was unveiled in Times Square this morning at Father Duffy Square. The 2020 work is by MODU and Eric Forman Studio’s Heart Squared featuring 125 mirrors arranged in the shape of an anatomic heart and tilted in various directions inside a steel frame. There’s a small visual trick at work — you stand on a white mark on the subway grates in order to see the full heart.
The work is intended to be simultaneously a kaleidoscope of images, but also encouraging people to take time and spend a moment getting to know the work. Forman said at the opening, “If you stand back from it a bit and slow down to find the right spot, you’ll find yourself in the middle. And you’ll see that the outer mirrors create a border of sky, revealing the heart symbol in the reflections.”
As far as the works’s greater potential meaning for the artists, Forman continued, “As a New Yorker, I think it’s okay to say I kind of avoid Times Square. So it’s really really incredible to get this working in the middle of it, to build this just in the middle of all the spectacle and the insanity. But really one of my favorite parts about it is all the different kinds of people that are here as well…As others have said now, more than ever we need to celebrate diversity and inclusivity and what better way to do that, then by celebrating love, the most universal value of all.
If you live here, you also know New Yorkers often deliberately don’t look at each other. Even when there’s some amazing performance or some insanity around us, or even a celebrity passes, we pride ourselves on not even glancing at them. So we want to invite you to engage around you to not just look down but to look all around you up and around you and all the people around you, and to focus on all of the community the city really is.”
Rachely Rotem of MODU added at the press opening, “Manhattan’s verticality has shaped the image of the city. This project emphasizes the importance of the horizontal Manhattan- Chaotic, crowded and noisy, the public floor of the city is the part of New York that we have learned to cherish the most. Its greatest asset is the freedom to be ourselves amongst others who are different than us. We imagine Heart Squared as an amplifier of this togetherness.”
Heart Squared is made possible by Times Square Arts and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Check out Heart Squared for the rest of the month in Times Square and discover more art installations to check out before the month is out!