The Whitney Museum of American Art has unveiled designs for a giant, airy sculpture by David Hammons crossing into the Hudson River, evoking Manhattan’s history with a distinctly futuristic vision. This project is set to be one of the city’s largest public art installations.
The piece, titled “Day’s End,” would be a large frame of brushed stainless posts that would run along the edge of Pier 52, also known as Gansevoort Peninsula, and stretch south into the river. Its dimensions — 373 feet long and 50 feet tall — are identical to the initial Pier 52 shed’s outline and place. The project will be supported by 12 65-foot-long pilings, five of which would be on the peninsula, one at the end, and six more in the river. However, the sculpture is not meant to be illuminated at night.
David Hammons himself suggested the project, according to Adam Weinberg, the Whitney’s chairman, who made a presentation to the committee. The museum wasn’t looking for an installation but when Hammons sent the museum a drawing of his planned sculpture after touring the new building and looking out over the Hudson, the museum’s interest peaked. David Hammons, 74, has lived in New York for some 40 years, and made his way through the art world at a time when it was hard for an African-American artist to make a career and a name for himself. Hammons’ work is particular, in that it frequently changes in direction while avoiding a signature style. Much of his work alludes to the place of Black people in American society.
The Whitney does not own the property and does not own the artwork, despite raising funds to finance the installation’s construction and maintenance — costs are yet to be calculated. Instead, the Hudson River Park Trust will own the installation, which would be maintained with Whitney funds. Though the trust has approved the project in principle, the two have yet to reach a formal agreement.
In an Instagram post announcing the release of their new podcast, the Whitney Museum shared: “The podcast series is focused on David Hammons’s new sculpture Day’s End—a monumental, permanent public art installation in Hudson River Park that pays tribute to a long-destroyed 1975 artwork of the same name by Gordon Matta-Clark. We’ll follow the evolution of the Manhattan coastline through the history of the Meatpacking District, and celebrate the communities that have shaped the neighborhood where the Whitney now stands.”
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We’re excited to see this project come to life as NYC needs more public art installations and culture. In case you have the itch to do an art crawl, here’s the best spring art shows to check out in NYC.
Photo rendering courtesy of Guy Nordenson and Associates