Ivan Navarro: This Land Is Your Land in Madison Square Park

With New York City building in the background, Ivan Navarro's water tower installations sit on the snow covered Madison Square Park

At this point we're happy to see just about ANYTHING outside that isn't mounds of snow or slush rivers. So when word came that the new public art installation by Ivan Navarro had arrived in Madison Square Park, and that it involved one of the most iconic of all NYC structures: the water tower,  I Citi Bike-d it up there pronto to see what he had done.

Now I want to go at night, because where Navarro really shows how creative and interesting he can be with his use of light, specifically neon. On both counts, the physical structures of the water towers and the neon sculptures tucked away inside, this piece called This Land Is Your Land, delivers.  

When looking into the inside of Ivan Navarro's water park, you see the neon letters that say "Me" and "We"

Water Towers in Madison Square Park 

Navarro, who was born and raised in Chile during Pinochet's bloody reign, and now lives and works in Brooklyn, says he was inspired by Woody Guthrie's classic song for this sculptural work especially because of the welcoming and inclusive spirit of the chorus kicker, "this land was made for you and me". He chose water towers as the central image because of their simple, elemental function–providing us with our most basic need–in this, the original and quintessential "melting pot", New York City. "These water towers metaphorically function as tall ornamental crowns on the tops of the large buildings that dominate the urban landscape." Navarro says, "They punctuate the glory of modern civilization while reclaiming its humanity.” 

Man standing under one of Ivan Navarro's water towers looking inside at the neon artwork

Viewing Navarro's Installation at Night

Navarro's This Land Is Your Land isn't just about putting a trio of lovely water towers at eye-level, as pleasing as that is. Walk onto the lawn/snow and look underneath and you'll see Navarro's neon and mirror installations, which are different in each tower: one changes from "me" to "we"; another has the word "bed"; the third features a ladder made of light, climbing into infinity. Another benefit of a nighttime viewing is the neon light spilling out onto the ground beneath, giving a spaceship feel to piece. Make an evening out of it and get some dinner at any number of first-rate restaurants in the area, from Hill Country Barbecue (and Chicken) to the original Shake Shack to Eataly, Aldea, the Breslin, Maysville, on and on.    

A rendering of Ivan Navarro's water towers at night in Madison Square Park

More Information: Ivan Navarro in Madison Square Park

Ivan Navarro: This Land Is Your Land will be at Madison Square Park through April 13. The park is located between 23rd and 26th Streets, and between Fifth and Madison Avenues.

An image from across Madison Square Park at the Water Tower sculptures created by Ivan Navarro

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