My recent posts at World-Architects


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

31 in 31: #17

This is a series for August 2010 which documents my on-the-ground -- and on-the-webs -- research for my guidebook to contemporary NYC architecture (to be released next year by W. W. Norton). Archives can be found at the bottom of the post and via the 31 in 31 label.

Event Horizon
[#13 - 15 East 26th Street]

Event Horizon--not the stinker of a movie from 1997--is "a boundary in spacetime, most often an area surrounding a black hole, beyond which events cannot affect an outside observer." This basic Wikipedia definition helps a little in understanding Antony Gormley's summer installation for Madison Square Art, titled Event Horizon. By locating the "indexical copies" of the artist atop buildings ringing Madison Square Park, the figures give a sense of scale otherwise missing when people scan the city and its buildings; windows may be sized to the use of occupants, but they shield those within. Or in other words, the silhouettes make that distance closer because we grasp the significance of that shape, we mentally displace ourselves to that parapet or ledge. They re-engage one with the urban horizon that is otherwise visually scanned quickly and nonchalantly.

Event Horizon
[#19 - 162 Fifth Avenue]

Gormley describes that "in observing the works dispersed over the city viewers will discover that they are the centre of a concentrated field of silent witnesses; they are surrounded by art that is looking out at space and perhaps also at them." Walking around and inside the park, I'll admit it was interesting to watch the people looking around for the figures. A few on-the-ground replicas indicate that something is going on, but there is a slow recognition of the others, near and far, atop buildings on all sides of the park. Primarily I like how the artist created an artwork for Madison Square Art without physically occupying the park (minus the few secondary ground-level installations); it engages the park and its visitors by surrounding it. Here urban space becomes something real, formed, not just the residue of individual buildings.

Event Horizon
[#18 - 928 Broadway]

Check out the official PDF guide for lots of information on the installation that ended Sunday.

[Number Key, crop]

#1 - Phyto Universe
#2 - One Bryant Park
#3 - Pier 62 Carousel
#4 - Bronx River Art Center
#5 - The Pencil Factory
#6 - Westbeth Artists' Housing
#7 - 23 Beekman Place
#8 - Metal Shutter Houses
#9 - Bronx Box
#10 - American Academy of Arts and Letters
#11 - FDR Four Freedoms Park
#12 - One Madison Park
#13 - Pio Pio Restaurant
#14 - Queens West (Stage II)
#15 - 785 Eighth Avenue
#16 - Big BambĂș


  1. On a related note, anArchitecture shows us last year's Madison Square Art insallation, Huts...latched onto the side of the Centre Pompidou.

  2. Hey, the film may be a stinker, but I think it's one that is so bad it circles back around to good.

    This installation is simply great, though. Reminds me of Improv Everywhere's stunt: Look Up More

  3. Trudy - I'll need to revisit that one to see if I agree. I saw it in the theater when it came out...wished I'd spent my money on something else at the time. I exaggerate, but partly because I had high hopes for the flick.

    The Gormley installation is also like this billboard in Toronto. Though my tastes lean to the Improv stunt.


Comments are moderated for spam.