Brooklyn Heights

A massive endless whirlpool of black water is coming to Brooklyn Bridge Park

February 23, 2017 By Scott Enman Brooklyn Daily Eagle
“Descension” was on display at Versailles in 2015. Photo by Tadzio
Share this:

If you see something, say something.

That slogan, implemented after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, urges New Yorkers to immediately contact authorities if they see something suspicious.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Come May, Brooklynites frequenting Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP) might have the urge to report an abnormal-looking 26-foot-wide never-ending vortex of black water, but they should not be alarmed, as the whirlpool is actually the latest art installation by Mumbai-born, Britain-based sculptor Anish Kapoor.

The renowned artist’s latest sculpture, dubbed “Descension,” will be installed at BBP’s Pier 1 and will be on display from May 3 through Sept. 10, 2017.

Public Art Fund is curating the exhibit as part of its 40th Anniversary season.

Public Art Fund, according to its website, “brings dynamic contemporary art to a broad audience in New York City and beyond by mounting ambitious, free exhibitions of international scope and impact that offer the public powerful experiences with art and the urban environment.”

“As we celebrate 40 years of bringing remarkable public art to New York City, it’s important to recognize those artists and exhibitions that have shaped the discourse and been so memorable to our broad public audience,” said Public Art Fund Director and Chief Curator Nicholas Baume. “We’re thrilled that Anish’s newest work will be a highlight of this anniversary season, more than a decade after his outdoor debut with us.”

The exhibit, which will be surrounded by a railing, will demonstrate how an ordinary substance like water can interact and behave in extraordinary ways. And with the East River only a few hundred feet away from the project’s planned location, the whirlpool will complement, contrast and interact with the city’s vibrant waterway.

“Through this transformation of properties inherent to materials and objects, Kapoor blurs the boundaries between nature, landscape and art, allowing us to perceive space differently,” states a Public Art Fund press release.  

The whirlpool will be treated with a black dye, which will create an opaque, seemingly endless hole of darkness. The exhibit will create negative space that will seemingly spiral into the ground.

“Anish Kapoor reminds us of the contingency of appearances: Our senses inevitably deceive us. With ‘Descension,’ he creates an active object that resonates with changes in our understanding and experience of the world,” said Baume. “In this way, Kapoor is interested in what we don’t know rather than in what we do, understanding that the limit of perception is also the threshold of human imagination.”

“Descension” was displayed in a solo exhibition at Versailles in 2015. This will be the first time that the large-scale outdoor piece will be on display in North America.

Kapoor is no stranger to major open-air sculptures in New York City, having had his “Sky Mirror,” a 35-foot-wide concave mirror, installed at Rockefeller Center in 2006. Public Art Fund presented that exhibit, as well.

Public Art Fund recently curated another outdoor sculpture at BBP’s Pier 6 by London-based artist Martin Creed. It featured a 25-foot-tall, 360-degree rotating sculpture that read “Understanding.” It was on display from May through Oct. 23, 2016.

Following “Understanding,” “Descension” will be the third temporary art installation that will be making its debut in BBP.

Deborah Kass’ yellow “OY/YO” sculpture opened in November 2015 and was on view through August 2016. The sculpture read “OY” when looked at from Brooklyn, or “YO” if seen from Manhattan.

Anish Kapoor will give a Public Art Fund Talk in collaboration with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School on May 3 during which he will discuss “Descension” as it relates to his art practice and public space.


Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment