Five large and whimsical sculptures are coming to Times Square as part of a weeklong public art installation.
The Times Square Alliance is slated to unveil the five artists’ works in Duffy Square Tuesday morning.
The outdoor exhibition features a bronze mouse; a voluptuous female figure made of ceramic tiles and glass pebbles; an illuminated sculpture of bubbling sea foam; and a work made of compact discs and resin meant to evoke an ancient monument.
All the structures are about 10 feet tall.
Another highlight is Counting Sheep, a 36-foot-long installation of 24 handmade paper sheep.
The art project marks the start of Armory Arts Week, which features arts events throughout New York City.
The sculptures are scheduled to remain on display through next Monday.
Joining the art carnival that descends on New York City during the annual Armory Show, the huge contemporary art fair that opens on Thursday, Times Square is transforming itself into a “whimsical” sculpture garden.
Pieces by Tom Otterness (a huge bronze mouse, looking as if it has outgrown the subway), Niki de Saint Phalle (a 10-foot ceramic and glass female figure) and Kyu Seok Oh, a Brooklyn artist (a flock of sheep handmade from heavy paper) were unveiled on Tuesday along with two other sculptures by Grimanesa Amorós and David Kennedy Cutler. The works, presented by the Times Square Alliance, will remain on view through Monday.
Four of the sculptures are at Duffy Square and sites between 46th Street and 47th Street. The sheep, which are presented in partnership with the West Harlem Art Fund, will be grazing motionlessly for the week between 45th Street and 46th Street near the Marriott Marquis Hotel. No need to feed them.
Niki de Saint Phalle’s colossal mosaic sculpture, The Star Fountain (Blue) (1999), will be on view free and open to the public at the 2011 Times Square Show, a major large-scale outdoor group exhibition on Broadway and 42nd Street, from March 1 through 7, 2011.
Wittily executed in the artist’s signature sparkling colors, The Star Fountain (Blue) depicts a flamboyant and playful ‘Nana’ that juggles two large pitchers from which water constantly cascades. Standing nearly 10 feet tall, and made of polyurethane foam, resin, steel armature, glass pebbles, ceramic tiles, mirror and stained glass, the voluptuous female figure is an archetype of feminine power and strength. Decorated with cosmic symbols and stars in shades of white, red, yellow and blue, the majestic Nana celebrates motherhood, sensuality, love and life themes recurrently explored by Saint Phalle.
The sculpture’s illusory effects of light and color and the use of water create a magnetic attraction and meditative sensory experience. Installed in the heart of New York’s theater district, its mirrored and stained glass tesserae, reflecting the city’s flickering lights and vibration, provide a rare opportunity to dive into Saint Phalle’s realm one of whimsy and fantasy.
Internationally acclaimed for her oversized, voluptuous female figures, Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002) was a French-American, self-taught sculptor, painter and film maker of international prominence. She is best known for her public sculptures, such as the Stravinsky Fountain next to the Centre Pompidou in Paris (1983), the Tarot Garden at Garavicchio in southern Tuscany (1998), the Grotto in Hannover’s Royal Herrenhausen Garden (2003), and Queen Califia’s Magical Circle in California (2003). Saint Phalle, who began her career as an artist in the 1950s, was awarded the 12th Praemium Imperial Prize, considered to be the equivalent to the Nobel Prize in the art world, in Japan in 2000. Born in 1930, in Neuilly sur Seine, Saint Phalle died in 2002 at the age of 71 in La Jolla, California.
NEW YORK This week, fine art meets flash as five sculptures by high-profile artists land in Times Square, a public art exhibition connected to the arts trade show Armory Arts Week.
Star Fountain, by late French artist Niki de Saint Phalle, one of the works on display in Times Square this week. (Marlon Bishop/WNYC)
On Tuesday morning after the unveiling, tourists and native New Yorkers alike wandered among the statues, ranging from a voluptuous ten-foot ceramic woman by the late sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle to the 24 sheep made of paper by Brooklyn artist Kyu Seok Oh.
“I’m always supportive of public art sculptures, there needs to be more of them,” says Arash Mokhtar, an actor who was checking out the sculptures after an audition. “I’m glad they’re actually in Times Square and not far off in some art world refuge.”
The sculptures were chosen, alongside artistic considerations, to withstand the wear and tear of a week in Times Square, where, according to curator Glen Weiss, people tend to be pretty “hands-on” with the art.
All five works will be on display until next Tuesday.