Antony Gormley: Event Horizon in Madison Square Park
Antony Gormley’s Event Horizon, on display now through the middle of August in and around the excellent Madison Square Park, is one of our favorite public art projects of the last few years. Gormley’s concept here is simple: take 31 life-size body-form statues of his (naked) self, cast in iron and fiberglass, and place them along the pathways of Madison Square Park, and on the sidewalks surrounding the area, and, most spectacularly, up on the rooftops and ledges–and standing as close to the edge as possible–of the historic buildings that tower over the square.
The overall effect of Gormley’s Event Horizon is a curious, compelling combination of wonder, awe, and a vague kind of dread. The men-sculptures dotting the rooflines have the most impact, of course, 22 of them in all, placed at varying heights and precariousness of perches. Among the most immediate evocations of this looming platoon: benevolent superheroes watching over and protecting us; dark, evil angels preparing to swoop; despairing men, on the brink of suicide; basic humanity, stripped down but at ease with their vulnerability.
There’s definitely also a rewarding I Spy a Antony Gormley sculpture, treasure hunt aspect to the viewing experience, and we felt a little thrill each time we spotted a new man, obscured by trees or outcroppings in the distance, or immediately overhead, looking right past us. There are maps with all of statues’ locations available at park, or you can download one prior to your visit, but we suggest you go in cold, and try to find them all yourself. Needless to say, kids (of all ages) love this sort of thing.
Gormley originally created Event Horizon for London, in 2007, but we think Madison Square Park, with all those beautiful buildings we always look up at anyway, is pretty much the ideal location for such a spectacle. Plus, of course, there are all the usual great reasons to spend an afternoon here: the sunny lawn, the burgers and concretes at Shake Shack, the shady benches, the playground, and the fabulous people watching.
Antony Gormley: Event Horizon in Madison Square Park details
Antony Gormley’s sculptures are on display in and around Madison Square Park from now through August 15. Madison Square Park is located between Fifth and Madison Avenues, and 23rd to 26th Streets. For lots more information, images and a terrific downloadable guide with all the statues’s locations AND a nifty little history of each of those great buildings surrounding the park, please visit the Antony Gormley Event Horizon website.
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