Brooklyn Heights

Brooklyn Bridge Park welcomes Brooklyn artist’s solar-powered sculpture

December 16, 2014 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn artist Tom Fruin’s solar-powered sculpture, “Watertower 3: R.V. Ingersoll,” is stationed at the roof of 334 Furman St., near Pier 5, in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Photo by Julienne Schaer
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A new solar-powered sculpture by Brooklyn artist Tom Fruin is lighting up the sky from the roof of 334 Furman St., near Pier 5, in Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP). The park, in partnership with Tom Fruin Studio, has welcomed the installation for one year.

“Watertower 3: R.V. Ingersoll,” which was introduced Dec. 12, is the sixth work in Fruin’s Plexiglas and steel ICON series, which features scavenged, reclaimed and recycled materials constructed into sculptural tributes to architectural icons around the world. The series began in Copenhagen with “Kolonihavehus” in 2010, which is now on display at Empire Fulton Ferry in the Park. “Watertower” (2012), the first water tower of the series, graces the Brooklyn skyline at 20 Jay St. in DUMBO.

Fruin has composed “Watertower 3” from roughly one thousand scraps of acrylic from Evonik Industries, producer of Acrylite acrylic sheets. Additional transparent acrylic scrap materials were sourced from Chinatown sign shops. Illuminated by the sun during the day and by Lumi•Solair solar-powered light systems at night, this beacon of light is a tribute to the iconic New York water tower. Continuing the use of reclaimed materials, this piece uses renewable energy from solar panels to power the LED illumination.

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“Brooklyn Bridge Park is the perfect combination of sky and sea, nature and dense urban environment,” said Fruin. “The curvy paths and piers in the landscaped park offer many unique vantage points for this sculpture as well as the chance to discover the piece without being directed towards it.”

“As the days get shorter, the installation of Tom Fruin’s celebratory ‘Watertower 3’ is timed perfectly to light up the sky from the roof of 334 Furman St.,” said Regina Myer, President of Brooklyn Bridge Park. “Tom’s use of reclaimed materials and renewable energy echoes the ethos of Brooklyn Bridge Park, and we are so excited to have his work here for all to enjoy.”

The diaphanous patterning of “Watertower 3” recalls Fruin’s 2005 “Treasure Map,” which utilized trash found at R.V. Ingersoll Houses in Fort Greene to form a quilt-like map. Working with Plexiglas, steel, plastic and scrap material, Fruin takes on recognizably urban objects (houses, billboards, flags and the like), elevating their form to emblematic status and architectural scale. Sourcing sign shop offcuts and brilliantly-hued acrylic scraps, Fruin weaves patchworks of primary colors into striated grids, recalling not only his earlier quilts but also the energy and syncopation of New York City itself.

From its high perch at 334 Furman Street, “Watertower 3” will be visible from many different vantage points throughout the park, from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and from New York Harbor beyond.

This sculpture is supported in part through funding from the Strypemonde Foundation, and a studio grant from Two Trees Property Management. Additional technical support provided by Lumi•Solair, a New York based company that specializes in off-grid renewable products. Acrylite manufacturing offcuts and remainders were donated by Evonik Industries.

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