Brooklyn Heights

See Brooklyn Bridge Park’s 50-foot-high slinky from Antony Gormley

"This is like a tumbleweed that's just coming on the wind."

February 4, 2020 Scott Enman

British sculptor Antony Gormley unveiled “New York Clearing,” his latest work and first public sculpture in New York City in 10 years at Brooklyn Bridge Park on Tuesday.

The artwork, on view through March 27, features a single line made up of 11 miles of square aluminum tubing that loops, bends and coils endlessly into the sky like a giant slinky.

His “drawing in space” rises nearly 50 feet high and creates an environment that encourages viewers to meet inside the work and interact with it.

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“I think, for me, it’s not a body, maybe not even a sculpture in the traditional sense in so far as it’s more energy less mass,” Gormley said. “This is an open work; it doesn’t have a skin. You’re invited in a way to meet others that you might not have met before.

“It’s not a thing that represents something. It’s a process and we may have finished the construction, but the actual work begins now and will happen when the citizens of this incredible city come to sniff it out.”

Antony Gormley gives remarks on his public art piece, “New York Clearing,” in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Photo: Paul Frangipane/Brooklyn Eagle

The piece whimsically plays off the Lower Manhattan skyline in the background, countering the city’s “swooping lines of energy,” and sparkles in the evening as the lights from the pier ricochet off the maze of metal.

The piece was commissioned and paid for by CONNECT, BTS, a global project connecting 22 artists in five different cities across the world, including New York.

“The art world can be quite self serving, quite internalized,” Gormley said. “To reaffirm that art is essentially everyone’s, that it’s made to be shared, I think is the root of [BTS’] philosophy and why I agreed to play a part in what is … a very ideological wish that art should be a platform for greater connectivity and understanding.”

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Gormley’s last public art installation in New York, “Event Horizon,” featured 31 life-sized body forms — 27 in the sky and four on the ground — in Madison Square Park in Manhattan.

“New York Clearing” can be seen from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Photo: Paul Frangipane/Brooklyn Eagle

Eric Landau, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, said Gormley’s work and the park’s construction have come full circle. When he installed “Event Horizon” in 2010, it was the same year that construction on Brooklyn Bridge Park started.

Ten years later, Landau said it was only fitting that Gormley unveil his latest masterpiece in the park’s newest addition: Pier 3.

The area was initially meant for people to ride their bikes on and gather, according to Landau, but “never did we ever imagine this space would be used for this,” he said.

And the space will not be used like this forever. “New York Clearing” will be on view at the northeast corner of Pier 3 for just under two months before it’s gone in the blink of an eye.

“This is like a tumbleweed that’s just coming on the wind,” Gormley said. “It will be here temporarily. It will be gone.”

Follow reporter Scott Enman on Twitter.


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