On Sunday, with NYC Pride in full swing, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the artist charged with designing the state’s “first official monument to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people” is Brooklyn-based mixed-media artist Anthony Goicolea, the New York Times reports.
After 49 people were killed in the attack at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub last June, Cuomo formed the state’s LGBT Memorial Commission “with the mission to design and build a new memorial in honor of the LGBT community and the victims of the Orlando shooting,” a release from the Governor’s office explains. A call for proposals went out in October.
Giocolea’s monument—which, as planned, will sit in Hudson River Park near the waterfront piers, a nod to their “key role in the city’s history as both a meeting place and a haven for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people”—is a configuration of nine boulders, some bisected with glass panels that act as a prism, projecting subtle rainbow patterns.
“It feels like there are certain shapes and patterns that are encoded in our DNA as humans that transcend any particular culture and speak to how we are unified in the larger scheme,” he told the Times, citing sites like Stonehenge and Easter Island as inspiration. “I wanted to create a space that feels familiar, even though it is new.”
As a kid growing up in Marietta, Georgia, the child of Cuban émigrés, Giocolea had “never seen my community reflected back at me.” When he came to the West Village for the first time, he was struck by the area’s openness. “I had never seen people—gay people—engaging in this way,” he said. “There was no apology for it.”
These days, he runs regularly in Hudson River Park, and is well aware of how rare green spaces are in the city, a factor he’s incorporated into his design. “I wanted something usable and functional, and that was not going to take away part of the space,” he said. Renderings for the monument show people sitting and relaxing on the boulders.
“I wanted to communicate with the river and the piers,” Goicolea told the paper. “I really want it to be part of the area.”