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Large, rotating neon ‘Understanding’ sign opens in Brooklyn Bridge Park

Accompanies Jehovah's Witnesses Watchtower sign

May 3, 2016 By Scott Enman Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Martin Creed’s sculpture is illuminated in front of the Manhattan skyline. Photo: Jason Wyche, Courtesy Public Art Fund, NY

Brooklyn’s waterfront now has another large red neon sign to accompany the Jehovah Witnesses’ iconic “Watchtower” emblem.

The newest addition, a 25-foot-tall, 360-degree rotating sculpture that reads “Understanding,” is the latest work from London-based artist Martin Creed, and is now open to the public in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6.

The exhibition will be on display through Oct. 23.

The sculpture is made out of individual steel letters that are supported by a beam attached to a post. The beam turns on a central axis at various speeds determined by a computerized program that the artist created.

The monument is the British artist’s third and biggest large-scale rotating neon text sculpture to date.

From Pier 6, the luminous sign interacts with the city’s skyline and is easily visible from both Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan. People traversing the Brooklyn Bridge and East River can also enjoy views of the installation.

The figure’s stepped platform affords park visitors a place to sit, stand and look out at the waterfront.

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“Martin Creed is a poet of the everyday,” said Public Art Fund Director and Chief Curator Nicholas Baume in a recent press release. “His art confronts us with things we think we already know — inviting us to look at them afresh.

“‘Understanding’ is a simple word with complex meanings; we might, for example, show understanding on an emotional level, even while not understanding what somebody has said or done,” Baume continued. “In this luminous and dynamic sculptural form, the word is isolated, monumental, and continually moving.”

This project marks the second time that Creed has exhibited his sculptures in New York City. One of his most famous pieces, another neon text sculpture reading “Everything Is Going To Be Alright,” appeared on the façade of the Hilton Times Square in 2000.

“Understanding” is the second temporary art installation that has recently made its debut in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Deborah Kass’ yellow “OY/YO” sculpture opened last November and will remain on view through August. The sculpture says “OY” when looked at from Brooklyn, or “YO” if seen from Manhattan.

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