Parks Dept. makes prehistoric proposal

February 5, 2021 Jaime DeJesus
Parks Dept. makes prehistoric proposal
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NYC Parks made a presentation to Community Board 7 about an art installation that could make its way to Sunset Park later this spring.

The initiative is part of NYC Parks’ Art in the Park Program, through which it permits temporary public art installations citywide.

During the meeting on Jan. 28, artist Judith Mordrak unveiled a mock-up illustrative of sculptural fossils placed in Sunset Park called “Modern Fossils.”

“The larger idea for this project is to invoke the fossil record of nearly 400 million years ago,” she said. “[We want to] bring that into a modern context and consideration in terms of the fossil record that we’ll be leaving behind when we are no longer here. It becomes especially relevant during these times.”

The piece itself is approximately eight feet by six feet.

Mordrak has worked on exhibits in Thomas Payne Park and Central Park.

“A lot of my work is about this idea of interactivity and participation and certainly having the people complete the work,” she said. “This project is about the fossil record and so it’s about thinking about that eco footprint we leave as well as the one that has been left for millions if not billions of years.”

However, not all board members were sold on the display.

“Our open spaces are very limited in this community and asking us to share them is a big ask and it requires engagement, not just a presentation that gets sprung on us in one meeting,” said CB 7 chairperson Cesar Zuniga.

His suggestion was to table the conversation and find ways to engage a cross-section of members of the community.

“We want to make sure the community is involved and we have those conversations and make sure this is something everyone is going to be happy with,” said Elizabeth Masella, senior public art coordinator for NYC Parks. “I think Judith’s intention is to engage the work and have an educational thing in the park.”

Masella said Parks wanted to be mindful of not taking away or impacting areas of the park that are heavily used.

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