Florent Morellet – celebrated artist, flamboyant restaurateur, and champion of the Meatpacking District – has won the Vox Populi contest and been selected by public vote to be commemorated on the High Line. Artist John Ahearn will create a life-size plaster cast of the subject during a public viewing on the High Line in late July. The final work will be on view between September 2013 and April 2014 as part of Busted, the group exhibition featuring nine installations on the High Line that play upon the centuries-old tradition of dedicatory busts and memorials in public spaces.
Florent Morellet is an artist and activist. His renowned Restaurant Florent, a Meatpacking District institution, was a center for grassroots activism for more than two decades. He has been a leader in issues ranging from gay rights to AIDS to architectural preservation. Since retiring from his restaurant in 2008, Florent has concentrated on his art and social causes. In 2010, the Manhattan Borough President appointed him to the board of the borough’s Community Board 2.
Active in New York since the late 1970s, artist John Ahearn is known for vivid, hyper-realistic sculptures that portray common people from local neighborhoods, making art that is deeply rooted within the community. His sculptures – life-like busts realized through casting sessions often carried out as performances in public spaces – are a celebration of the community spirit and have been presented in both public contexts and art institutions.