The legendary David Hammons has a new project on deck, and it’s going to be his most ambitious endeavor yet. The Whitney has tapped the elusive artist to create a public art installation along the Hudson River, the New York Times reports. Though the Whitney has not yet officially announced the project, its director Adam Weinberg discussed it with the Times ahead of an October 4 meeting with the local community board that has a significant say in its development.
Notably, community boards doomed an effort by billionaire Barry Diller to build an outdoor park at Pier 54 that was soon dubbed “Diller Island” by detractors; Diller formally pulled the plug last week.
Weinberg said the public art installation, something of a coup for the museum, is at the moment “only a possibility,” but he also revealed more details about the work in progress. “David Hammons’s concept for a public art installation at the edge of Gansevoort Peninsula is something that we’re very excited about,” Weinberg said. “Our proposal is only in its earliest stages and for us it’s really important to start with our community board. We’re extremely mindful of environmental and community sensitivity.”
According to some early descriptions of the proposed project, the piece will be a “a ghostlike image of the original Pier 52 building on that site, an open minimalist framework of what had originally been there…like a pencil line drawing in space,” the Times noted.
The ode to the pier’s shipping history will also be Hammons’s first large scale permanent outdoor work. It would also be “a highly site-specific project that would reflect the southern edge of Gansevoort’s physical and artistic history and role in the working waterfront,” as Madelyn Wils, president of the Hudson River Park Trust, told the Times. “We think it’s an inspiring idea and look forward to hearing the community’s thoughts before pursuing it further,” she said. Meanwhile, Democratic assemblywoman Deborah J. Glick described it as “a rather skeletal, tubular, very open form that would be a reminder of the historic piers that once lined the waterfront.”
Last year, Hammons celebrated a career retrospective with “David Hammons: Five Decades” at New York’s Mnuchin Gallery, which has showed his only other solo show in New York in the past decade. It consisted of 40 pieces Hammons created, like his ’70s body prints as well as newer works that were made from mirrors and sheets of metal.
If the Whitney project becomes a reality, it would become a permanent fixture on the Hudson River, and one of the city’s most notable public art pieces.
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