Sunday, April 18, 2010

Antony Gormley's "Event Horizon"

The local news reports were fervent, repeatedly advising us that there were humans standing on the top of a cluster of buildings in downtown Manhattan. If we happened to be in the area, our gaze might hit the skyline where a person would be perched. But we shouldn't be alarmed - they're not jumpers and they're not snipers, they're merely sculptures perched on the tops of buildings at various levels and looking downward throughout the Flatiron district. Like last year's Waterfalls project by Olafur Eliasson and The Gates by Jeane Claude and Christo from 2005, Event Horizon is New York's latest public art installation by British artist, Antony Gormley.

I've heard so much about this provocative display so earlier this week, I took a detour on my way back to Brooklyn to see these subtle (and yet alarming) art pieces are scattered all around Madison Square Park in the Flatiron.

As I approached the area, I saw one figure immediately. Then, as I spun around in place, I started noticing them all around me- faster and faster. I suddenly felt like I was on the lam and being watched. My time on the run was coming to an end as I was surrounded.

The installation consists of thirty-one life-sized body casts of the artist. About four of them are on the ground at walking level so you can see them up close and personal. Knowing this number in advance, I only counted about fourteen total - how could I have missed so many?

These vertiginous sentinels will be guarding the Madison Square Park area (watching you and instilling slight paranoia) through August 15th. Just when life in the big city starts to feel like the daily grind, an artist comes along to stir things up. In New York, we're constantly on stimulation overload so it's easy to miss many things. I never took notice of the beautiful architectural details of this area. You can also see many interesting things if you seek them out - in this case, all you have to do is look up.

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