7. PRANK at City Hall Park

PRANk Art installation in City Hall Park
Phyllida Barlow PRANK: hoax; 2022/23 PRANK: mimic; 2022/23 2022 – 23 Corten steel, fiberglass, lacquer © Phyllida Barlow Courtesy Hauser & Wirth Photo: Filip Wolak, courtesy Public Art Fund, NY Artwork a part of Phyllida Barlow: PRANK, presented by Public Art Fund in City Hall Park, New York City, June 6, 2023 – November 26, 2023

A sculpture that dares to defy gravity and artistic form will come to City Hall Park in Lower Manhattan on June 6. Created by the late British artist Phyllida Barlow, PRANK is a collection of seven free-standing steel and fiberglass structures that serve as the artist’s first and only series of outdoor sculptures made from durable long-lasting materials. PRANk makes use of what has come to be known as Barlow’s well-known “rabbit ear” forms (originally created in Barlow’s Objects For series in the 1990s). In this series, Barlow stacks these forms precariously on top of mundane household objects such as workbenches, cabinets, and chairs. All of these objects are stacked and balanced at unusual angles, posing the question of art’s expectations of structural precarity and form. 

While the title of the exhibition and complete series is written in all uppercase letters, the individual sculptures are all titled using only lowercase ones: antic, hoax, jape, jinx, mimic, stunt, and truant. Barlow plays around with word and letter choice in order to highlight the exhibition’s theme of disruptive behavior and defying expectations.