Everyone knows the Manhattan skyline – even if, like me, they sometimes muddle the Chrysler and Empire State Building (true story). As a landscape that’s so recognizable, it’s ample ground for artists to meddle with. And tonight I went to Park Avenue between 48th and 68th to see Alexandre Arrechea’s take.
Arrechea melds the buildings – such as the Empire State, the Metlife and Seagram buildings – into spirals, circles and other winding shapes that give effects of tumbling and rolling. The image of a city in constant movement.
Park Avenue, which I’d never walked down before, is on a gentle decline, which is perfect for these shapes. Arrechea curls the structures into spheres, making them look like they’re going to roll right downtown before they take roots – if they stop at all. The image reflected the Park Avenue commuters around me – ploughing through with no intention of stopping.
Also interesting was how the courtroom building was given the impression it was balancing in the middle of scales, while another of the Helmsley building resembled a snake biting at its own tail – a metaphor for the city. The pieces – especially the red ones – had something of Joel Shapiro or Mary Miss about them, with a more cartoonish feel.
With the skies darkening above me, I meandered down the Avenue to take in the sculptures. I love appreciating these (free!) outdoor offerings while yelling in my head at the commuters: ‘Guys! You’re in the middle of an art museum! Have a look around!’
I enjoyed the gentle browse – and no doubt got on everyone’s nerves as I took my sweet ass time in an attempt to battle the very New York Arrechea was portraying.
(Well, for a quick half an hour, and then I had to rush to dinner.)