Spring has sprung and with it, sculptures are sprouting up and down the High Line! Today is the first day to see our newest HIGH LINE COMMISSION, Busted, a thoughtful and often humorous group exhibition addressing the very nature of public art and monument.
Inspired by the honorific statues dotting the streets of ancient Rome, Busted plays with the popular tradition of urban monuments and civic landmarks that have defined public space for centuries. The exhibition asks questions to challenge the fundamental tenets of public sculpture, such as: in contemporary society, who is deserving of a public monument? In what form and content should that monument appear? The invited artists touch upon – often with levity and wit – issues of democracy, taste, and representation of the self in the public sphere, enabling Bustedto redefine the nature of commemorative and celebratory sculpture.
On view from April 2013 to April 2014, Busted features nine international artists who plays with the tradition of figurative sculptures and commemorative monuments.
Frank Benson (b. 1976, United States) presents a life-size sculpture of a woman modeled after a friend of the artist. A mix of old and new, Benson’s sculpture recalls classical Greek statuary and was created using modern manufacturing processes including 3D digital scanning.
Steven Claydon (b. 1969, United Kingdom) presents the newly-commissioned UNLIMITEDS & LIMITERS, two seemingly traditional busts of a bearded man made of concrete and resin mix. The sculptures will weather over the course of the exhibition, revealing the synthetic material of the interior as time passes.
George Condo (b. 1957, United States) presents Liquor Store Attendant, a bronze bust with a grotesque, barnacle-covered face. Best known for his paintings of distorted figures, Condo’s work straddles the line between comedy and tragedy, the bizarre and the classically beautiful.
Mark Grotjahn (b. 1968, United States) has created sculptured out of discarded cardboard boxes cast in bronze, which resemble DIY creations and vernacular constructions. Grotjahn’s work combines the use of materials typical of early 20th century avant garde with an eccentric and playful energy.
Sean Landers (b. 1962, United States) creates intricate canvases where figurative imagery is intertwined with streams of written words. For Busted, Landers presents Pan, a bronze sculpture of a satyr in a Scottish kilt, evoking a world where reality and mythology meet.
Goshka Macuga (b. 1967, Poland) presents Colin Powell, a sculpture of the former Secretary of State during his 2003 United Nations speech on weapons of mass destruction. Rendered in the Cubist style, the sculpture is inspired by the replica of Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, the iconic anti-war painting, which usually hangs in the assembly, but was covered during Powell’s speech.
Ruby Neri (b. 1970, United States) debuts Before a Framework, a sculpture of a woman against an open framework. By casting in bronze a figure portrayed in a meditative pose, the artist creates a composition that acts as a contemplative hybrid between vernacular art and classical sculpture.
Amalia Pica (b. 1978, Argentina) has distinguished herself among a generation of artists who reinterpret the tradition of Conceptual Art. For Busted, she presents an empty pedestal made of concrete and covered with oxidation marks, suggesting that the sculpture has been removed or disappeared, which is a frequent fate for public monuments in an age of political turmoil.
Andra Ursuta (b. 1979, Romania) presents Nose Job, a sculpture of a giant nose made of white marble installed in a wheelbarrow. Referencing ancient Greek statuary, Nikolai Gogol’s novel The Nose, and remnants of socialist monuments defaced in the 1980s, Nose Job speaks of the rewriting of history through gestures of iconoclasm and destruction.
- Sophia Merkin
Photos by Timothy Schenck