13. Painful Arc II (Shoulder High) at the High Line

Public art installation on the High Line
Baseera Khan, Painful Arc II (Shoulder-High) (rendering). Courtesy of the artist and High Line Art.

In an effort to shed light on behind-the-scenes labor that often goes unrecognized and underappreciated, artist Baseera Khan created an archway to celebrate the people that tend to go unthanked. Painful Arc II (Shoulder-High) was born through interviews with High Line employees, dozens of photographs of supply shipping boxes, and extreme attention to detail. The archway, made from recycled granite and a man-made stone-like composite, is ornately inscribed with things Khan noticed on packaging labels and handwritten notes that circulate throughout the park on a typical day. The archway is also decorated with representations of punctuation symbols from the Quran, reimaged through motifs inspired by the High Line’s flora and fauna. 

The idea behind Painful Arc II is to draw attention to those who more often than not go unnoticed by the public. This ranges from the unseen labor that makes receiving packages at our doors possible to staff members at the High Line who make the park the beautiful piece of New York City that it is today. Painful Arc II (Shoulder-High) will be viewable on the High Line from June 2023 until May 2024. It is one of several art installations that debuted on the High Line this spring, including a new commission on the Plinth.