Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Event Horizon, New York

Look!  Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's the "Antony Gormley's Event Horizon"!

OK, I couldn't resist that introduction, as I recently spent a whole afternoon looking up into the sky at building tops around Madison Square Park, located at 5th Avenue at 23rd Street in Manhattan, to view the Event Horizon art exhibit. If you look closely at the photo above you will see the images of a man on the top of three different buildings.  You may have to enlarge the photo (and all photos) by clicking on it once and then again when it reopens on a new page.  Can you see them?

I enlarged a section of the photo above so you can see the figure standing next to the water tower on top of one of the buildings.  The Madison Square Park Conservancy is presenting the British artist Antony Gormley’s "Event Horizon," as a landmark public art exhibition, as part of Madison Square Art 2010. The exhibit runs March 26 through August 15, 2010.

Four life-size body forms of the artist cast in iron inhabit the sidewalks of historic Madison Square Park, as well as 27 fiberglass figures positioned on the rooftops of the many architectural treasures of New York’s vibrant Flatiron District.  A map of all their locations can be seen on the Event Horizon web site.

Can you see the figure in front of The Empire State Building?

A closer view.
According to a brochure about the project, that was handed out in Madison Square Park, Gormley states:
"Event Horizon hopes to activate the skyline in order to encourage people to look around.  In this process of looking and finding, or looking and seeking, one perhaps re-assess one's own position in the world and becomes aware of one's status of embedment."

There was some controversy when this project was first initiated that people on the street, unaware of the art project, would fear that the figures were actual people; potential jumpers on the verge of committing suicide. For the most part this did not occur, as there was enough publicity before the installation of the figures to inform the public of what they were.

In a New York Times article Gormley states: "You could almost say the insertion of the sculpture is like the insertion of acupuncture needles within a collective body. And seeing how the body as a whole reacts to the presence of this irritation is very much the point.”

I actually enjoyed searching the buildings for figures, as did many around me who were also on a quest to see how many they could spot. I think most New Yorker's become immune to the splendor of the city around them and are basically walking head down trying to get from point A to point B with as little interruption as possible. An art installation such as this makes even the most rushed city dweller stop for a moment and look up, and perhaps see with new eyes what he or she has been passing countless times without notice.

Some figures were not easy to see, and it became almost a game to try to pick them out.  Can you see the figure on the circa 1909, 700 foot high, landmarked Clock Tower that faces Madison Square Park? 

Perhaps now you can see him in the corner of the terrace on the tower?

Even the iconic Flatiron Building had a figure peering over the edge.
Here it is at the very top.

This video shows Antony Gormley in the process of choosing the sites for the statues. I like the panorama of the city he had from the top of the Flatiron Building, and his statement that "Manhattan is a living laboratory of possibility of how human beings can live together."

It is definitely an unusual and eye opening art exhibit, and if you don't get a chance to see it personally, I hope you enjoyed my photographic selections of it.

I'm adding this post to the "Outdoor Wednesday" event on Susan's A Southern Daydreamer blog. Please look at Susan's blog on Wednesday to see the links of participating blogs with their fabulous outdoor posts.

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Anonymous said...

Oh Pat....that's so cool!! My first reaction was what you said...."wonder how many folks called 911" when they saw what they thought were folks about to jump! I can tell you, when I went to NYC....I was looking up the entire time! I was a typical tourist....so in "awe" over the buildings!! Guess I could have spotted those figures pretty easily then! :) This was such a great share....thank you!!! L, Dana

Debbiedoos said...

How cool is that? You took some great pictures. The first time we took out boys to NYC, I kept telling my youngest boy to look on top of the building, that he just might see spiderman...well all day, he looked and looked....never did see him. Thanks for sharing another awesome part and history of NYC.

Claudia said...

I love this on so many levels. I love the purpose of this event, the thought, the originality - the celebration of what is unique in NYC. It is indeed a lab of so many different people cohabiting together. The photos have jarred me emotionally and am missing the wonders of the City so much right now.

Old Kitty said...

Of course!! Of course it's Antony Gormley!!! Now I see it!! LOL!!!

What an amazing concept - what an amazing installation. I so see the logic to his statues. New York's skyline is like not other and how else to appreciate and utilise such a view that by doing this? New Yorkers look up to scan the architecture to spot the art-work. There's something very satisfying about that - this "transfer of awareness"

Well done New York for embracing this artistic concept!! I love it!

And thank you Pat for these brilliant pics and the fab clip!

Take care

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Oh what fun this is. You gotta love New York.

Kat said...

I love this installation! What a brilliant idea. I'm with Dana, when I go to New York, all I do is look up. It's a miracle I've never walked into a wall. I also loved seeing the close up of the water tower. I think they are fascinating, especially after seeing an episode of "Dirty Jobs" showing how they are installed. New York truly is an amazing place. Thanks so much for sharing this. Kat

myletterstoemily said...

i was going to comment about the same
thing the city feared. tourists will surely
be frightened, but what an amazing

i love thinking outside the box like this.
i love your blog!!!

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Oh how neat.... I'd want to find ALL of the statues... That is so cool!!!!!! That is an amazing exhibit for sure. Thanks for sharing it with us. Love your photos.

black eyed susans kitchen said...

I loved hearing about this exhibit. Those of us who have spent a great deal of time in the city get so used to it that we forget to look up. this gives us renewed interest. I remember way back when....looking for buildings that were touched by Keith Harings work. The city is full of wonderful surprises...especially when you look up! This was a wonderful post, Pat...but all of your posts are wonderful!
♥, Susan

iheartsunnydays said...

This is brilliant! I love the concept. Beautiful pictures, I love the Flatiron building. Thanks for sharing :)

The Quintessential Magpie said...

What fun! I would have loved to search for these figures, and I'm so glad you did it for us. This is NEAT, Pat! Loved it! Thanks for taking us along...


Sheila :-)

Ebie said...

I love it! It is a great attraction. And the flatiron building is so cool! Thanks for this wonderful post!

Ms. Bake-it said...

Love the concept and the originality of it! Fabulous pictures and video. Thank you for another exceptional and informative post!

~ Tracy

Proud Italian Cook said...

That is so true what you said about people in a hurry to get from point A to point B, never taking the time to take in their surroundings. Great post Pat!

Average Girl said...

My mother just went to New York for the first time ever and she thought that the architecture was spectacular and in fact brought about 400 photos of buildings home with her. I think that this is an ingenious way to get people to re-notice the beauty of their City!

Frances said...

Oh, I was so excited to see your comment on my Little Birds blog posting concerning Green-Wood Cemetery. Oh ny. Your blog looks WONDERFUL. My husband and I spent our first weekend ever in NYC about a month ago and had a wonderful, yet tiring, time. Gary is so in love with NYC. We go every Fall for a day trip with his employer. But this was the first time we had spent a couple of days. We will do it again. I don't have time this evening, but I plan to come back and give your postings a thorough reading. Thank you so much for "finding" me so that I could find you! Hope you have a beautiful week.

Tales From My Empty Nest said...

You always have the most interesting posts about NYC!! That was the neatest art exhibit. I know you had the best time looking for all the figures. I enjoyed trying to find them in your pictures. Thanks for posting. That was very interesting. Love & blessings from NC!

Judy said...

Fun exhibit! And since there is no likelihood that I will see it in person...I'm thankful that you took me along for the tour. I'm sure many folks will see things they have never noticed before...as they scan the buildings for 'art'.

Kirsty Girl said...

Thats so great! Awesome photos and what a cool exhibit!

My name is Riet said...

That is a great idea Pat and so good of you to find so many. I also like the way you enlarged the photo's so we could get a good view of the figures. Very special.

http://jackieinsurrey.blogspot.co.uk/ said...

Hi Pat

I have seen Gormley sculptures here in UK, but to see them in New York is marvellous as your buildings are so tall!! I am glad you showed close ups of them as I would never of seen some of them. Last year we were walking in Eton (famous public boys school there) when we came across a sculpture sticking out of a wall and someone (I think he might of been one of the masters at the school) passed stopped their car and explained to us that it was a Gormley sculpture. I will try and find the photograph and post on it to today with a link to your blog if that is OK!!

Thank you for the time you spent "looking up" and again you must have a crick in your neck!!
Jackie in UK.

Jojo said...

It's a fantastic concept but it makes me think one could walk right into danger looking up! We have an ad running these days with a guy walking around on his blackberry and it ends with him walking in front of a train!

All joking aside, what a great way to encourage people to notice some of the incredible architecture that we take for granted.

Fantastic mosaic!!!

diane b said...

Well I will never see it in real life so thank you for showing me not only the interesting installation but the skyline of Manhattan.

Carol at Serendipity said...

What an interesting and informative post. Thank you so much for sharing this. Jackie said to stop by and I am so glad I did.


Jenny said...

Eegads! It's a nekkid metal man!


I guess I'm not very cultural.


Actually it was a great share! Thank you.

Vee said...

Such intriguing art! Glad that there was plenty of advance publicity. New Yorkers have been startled and frightened more than enough.

This somewhat reminds me of an old Candid Camera show where a man dressed in a bird costume was atop skyscapers flapping his "wings." When passersby were asked what they thought it was, they gave the most amusing answers. One woman said, "I think it's a crow." That answer made me laugh then and still does today. It was obviously one gigantic crow.

Linda said...

Very interesting idea. My sister will be in the area in August...I will have to let her know about this. Great photos! Thanks for sharing!

Gracie said...

I've seen something like that before, but I can't figure out where and when, I'm just sure it was somewhere in Europe.....

Just a little something from Judy said...

Living in the city you do does not provide any time for boredom. What a fun and entertaining way to spend time in the city. The creativity that some people were given, just amazes me. Great post!

Donna said...

Amazing! What a unique idea. Love it.

GailO said...

Pat,as you know we saw two of these statues when in NYC recently but what fun it would be to spend an entire afternoon hunting them all down!

GratefulPrayerThankfulHeart said...

I enjoyed this post immensely! It was so much fun trying to spot the figures. You sure do have a most interesting and delightful blog!

One Photo said...

How cool is that? Although I confess also a little disturbing,seeing those figures atop the buildings. It is a long time since I have been to NYC but I very much hope I get to go back.

Anonymous said...

OOO I thought they looked familiar. There's a collection of his iron men on the beach at Crosby -we had a look a while ago. Some get covered by the tide.

Great that you have some too. I think he likes waking people up to their surroundings.

People Who Know Me Would Say: said...

That's really something! I'm glad you captured it in word and photo for us, Pat.

Tracy said...

Absolutely fascinating, Pat! Now I'm going round looking a the tops of building to see what's up there... We need to look up more! ;o) Happy Days ((HUGS))

Atticmag said...

What a terrific post, as always. Thanks for stopping by to see our house numbers Pat. Maybe we should do a piece on NY house numbers. Jane F.

Mary Lee said...

Love the Clock Tower building! Remember that fabulous apartment you showed us that was in a clock building? What was the name of that one?

Goodness, New Yorkers have no excuse for being late! We simply wear watches in NC. :)

Unknown said...

That's really cool! I love this idea! NYC has such cool stuff, I love how they support public art, I wish more cities would do that!

Anonymous said...

wow! i 'heart' New York!
this is so creative....what an artistic mission...to get people to look upwards!

you do have the most interesting touristic posts ever woman! thanks for sharing!

love that flat building! what a marvel!

ciao bella
creative carmelina

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

I just love that Flat Iron building. Hope you have a wonderful 4th of July Pat.

The Muse said...

Like visitors from another place...frozen. Watchers of the scenes that surround them.
Resolute in their compiling...unswayed by the happenstance of man. (oo, I need to work this into a prose!)This is what I think of when I see this unique art and the placement throughout the city.
It is a good thing, certainly it was highly published...and yet what of those, as you say, poor visitors, who gasp at the sight of these precariously perched pigeons?LOL :)
Great post...!!

I invite you to come and visit my latest work: http://adivashammer.com/?p=1477#comments
Would love to see you.

Happy 4th!!!

annie said...

A city for a canvas for his art.
Amazing.Thanks for sharing this.
I hope you have a wonderful and happy 4th of July.