While the city awaits completion of Santiago Calatrava's 'glorious boondoggle' transit hub at the World Trade Center, Park Avenue will see the starchitect's spiky, metal sculptures line its meridian from June until November. The seven sculptures, three red, two silver, and two black, will stand at the intersections from East 52nd to East 57th streets, with the tallest piece standing 18 feet high. Dale Lanzone,
president who presented on behalf of Marlborough Gallery, which is putting on the installation, presented the installation to Community Board 5 last night. The board didn't have any issues with the art, but Parks and Public Spaces chair Clayton Smith noted there's some wariness now after controversy surrounding other public art in the district.
However, these sculptures, characteristic of Calatrava's hard, futuristic style, should elude controversy by nature of being abstract. "Abstract art [is] easier in a public context" compared to figurative art, said Lanzone, when asked if the pieces represent anything. On the gallery's website, Calatrava is quoted, saying "their relation to the natural world suggests a link between man and nature, implying the sculptures are found objects in a human forest."
The board has heard a deal of grief over the similarly silver and jagged, "Fata Morgana" at the lower end of the community district. The recently installed sculpture, by artist Teresita Fernandez, consists of over-hanging punctured glass discs suspended by scaffolding along parts of the paths in Madison Square Park. Locals have complained that the installation blocks sunlight. Coincidentally, Community Board 5 is the same board wrapped up in the sunshine issue of the 57th Street supertowers, so they take issues of light and darkness pretty seriously. So the board is considering changing its process so that it will weigh in more on public art installations. But for now, Calatrava's spiky meridian sculptures are likely to just go up.