Big install of suspended works at Waterfront Center, Hoboken
April 5, 2015
And now a belated note about a big commission that I finished at the end of 2014.
Six large-scale sculptures — each eleven feet long — are now suspended in two lobbies of the ‘Waterfront Center’ on the banks of the Hudson River, just across from Manhattan. There are three each of two different forms, each made of composite materials with a special, highly-polished white bronze coating.
A short (1 minute+) video of the installation is below, which shows the works better than still pictures can:
If you’d like to visit, they’re one stop from Manhattan on the PATH train, then a two block walk. Here’s a map.
I was asked to develop site-specific sculptures for these two lobbies that would connect them to their surroundings on the Hudson River. The process began back in 2012 using computer renderings to communicate ideas for the forms to the project team. I wanted to convey a sense of flight, movement, and graceful energy in response to the birds, waves, and current outside.
Hurricane Sandy made the construction site a large pond for many months, putting everything on hold until early 2014. But once the go-ahead came through, the process began: many more iterations of renderings, creating scale maquettes, researching and testing finish options, then at last the fabrication of the actual pieces over the summer.
One of the project constraints that was both most difficult, but also most interesting and formative, was the need to minimize weight. This concern was driven not by structural concerns, but by the desire to have the sculptures turn, gently, in the air currents of the building’s ventilation system.
If fabricated out of steel (the default material for a project like this), each sculpture would have weighed nearly 150 pounds. But the combination of lightweight materials that I’ve spent much of the last three years refining resulted in sculptures weighing under 30 lbs each. They rotate very nicely in the atria.
The finish is a ‘liquid metal,’ a special alloy that is sprayed on and then painstakingly polished until each piece gleams.
Installation occurred in the midst of the final stages of building construction, and as you’ll know if you’ve ever been on a large commercial construction job site, it’s a chaotic scene. I was onsite to assemble and help with installation, and was assigned a ‘minder’ from one of the local unions to help me (that is, keep me out of the way). One of my fondest memories is how he’d explain in a thick Jersey accent why this fella from out west was here (knowing only that it involved some sort of art) — “Yeah! This guy’s gotta put up his fucking murals or somethin’!”.
And now a few images of the finished works (I have yet to get back there for more formal photos, w/ the building finished and cleaned up).