Old New York, New York City, New York, 2010
I juxtapose this Gormley figure standing atop 245 Fifth Avenue with a softly focused foreground screen of vintage New York architecture, giving the sculpture context in time as well as space.
Above the Flatiron Building, New York City, New York, 2010
It is the famous Flatiron Building, designed by Daniel Burnham and built in 1902, that gives Madison Square Park much of its character. Gormley mounts one his figures just behind the pair of statues that help give this building its identity. My image puts the sleek contemporary Gormley sculpture into contrast with the ornate triangular façade of this unique vintage skyscraper, one of the first to use a steel skeleton.
Surveyor, New York City, New York, 2010
This Gormley figure, which stands behind the ornate cornice of 162 Fifth Avenue, was shot from several blocks away with a long telephoto lens. Framed by a mass of Victorian architecture, the figure seems to be surveying the scene below. I waited for the cloud to float behind the figure, making it stand out in even greater contrast.
New York Life Insurance Building, New York City, New York, 2010
I juxtapose this Gormley figure, standing on a setback of this building, with the ornate Victorian facades and banners of its neighbors. The New York Life Insurance building, designed by Cass Gilbert in 1928, stands on historic ground. It held Commodore Vanderbilt’s railway terminal, and then became an arena featuring the shows of P.T. Barnum and later Patrick Gilmore. When Gilmore’s lease expired, the site was occupied by the first Madison Square Garden, which was demolished in 1889 and replaced by Stanford White’s spectacular Moorish Madison Square Garden II. White was murdered on top of this building in 1906, while dining in its roof garden restaurant. He was shot by the jealous husband of his mistress, launching the greatest scandal of the age. Gormley’s figure seems to be pondering the meaning of it all.
St. James Building, New York City, New York, 2010
Only 16 stories high, this building was one of the first high rise buildings in the area. The figure was fairly close to me, and I use my long zoom lens to photograph its vivid rust coloration, as well as its form. You come upon this figure suddenly, instead of from a distance. It offers a shocking counterpoint to the ornate blue and green Victorian cornice to its left.
Advertising Man, New York City, New York, 2010
The scale of this Gormley figure is dwarfed by the huge advertisement on the building adjacent to it. I link the sculpture to that building by repeating the blue sky behind it via the blue sky reflected in the front windows of the building displaying the ad for office space.
Art stands upon art, New York City, New York, 2010
I was able to photograph this Gormley figure in profile against the wall of a neighboring building. This image is a melding of art, then and now. The Victorian embellishment on the building to the right of the Gormley figure offers a strong contrast in time and style to the stripped down reddish brown figure. Given historical context, the image also tells a story about for New York’s artistic evolution. The figure stands upon a six-story building at 204 Fifth Avenue, once the site of the Schaus Art Gallery, one of New York’s finest. When the art gallery moved uptown, a bank replaced it. Today, Pentagram, an internationally renowned design firm, occupies the building this figure stands upon.
Abstraction, New York City, New York, 2010
This image is the most abstract photograph in this series of my impressions of Gormley’s exhibit. This figure is set back from the park, standing at the edge of a building adjacent to what once was formerly known as the Metropolitan Life Insurance Tower. I abstract the scene by rendering both the figure and the building upon which it stands as silhouettes, and waited for a passing cloud to envelope the figure that stood within a sharp right angle of the building’s setback. The figure is emphasized by the cloud, making it seem to mysteriously emerge from the building.
Empire State Building, New York City, New York, 2010
The Gormley figure is very small, compared to the vast structure behind it that was formerly the tallest building on earth. The figure stands on a setback overlooking Fifth Avenue and 34th Street. It seems lost, being so many blocks away from the rest of its fiberglass companions. It is a great surprise -- many passersby miss it, since it appears entirely out of context. I make it fairly obscure here as well, by blending it in to a field of windows on all sides.
The Conversation, New York City, New York, 2010
This is the only image in my gallery that contains two Gormley figures. The foreground figure stands on a setback of the New York Life Insurance building at 26th Street and Madison Avenue. The other figure is three blocks away, at 29th and Madison. Yet I managed to isolate the figures in order to compare them. I contrast the figures in several ways: one is large, the other small. One is a partial figure – we see only his head and shoulders poking out of the parapet. The other is viewed at full length, seen standing in contrast to the size of the building it stands upon. One faces right, the other faces towards us. When we compare one figure to another, it seems as if they can’t help but recognize each other, and somehow converse.
244 Fifth Avenue, New York City, New York, 2010
Given context by the Empire State building’s tower, this Gormley figure stands on a rooftop six blocks away from it. The figure is very small within my frame, in comparison to the adjoining building and the soaring tower of the Empire State Building, but I am able to bring emphasis to it by waiting for a cloud to provide a white background. Black against white always creates the most visible contrast. This is another one of the Gormley figures that will struggle for recognition. It is the second most northerly figure in the series, standing well beyond the concentration of sculptures placed around Madison Square Park. It is the cloud and its relationship to the Empire State tower that bring it to life here.
Grounded, New York City, New York, 2010
This figure, the last in my series of impressions of Antony Gormley’s public art exhibition “Event Horizons,” stands at ground level, near the Madison Avenue entrance to Madison Square Park. It is one of four figures cast in iron instead of fiberglass. All of these iron figures stand at ground level within the park or at nearby intersections. I abstract the figure by silhouetting it, and place it within a geometric grid of lines and shapes. The square upon which it stands echoes the rectangular window frame across the street. The upright posture of the sculpture repeats the upright flow of the light pole across the street. Most importantly, the large white lines that sweep across the intersection lead the eye from the sculpture to the traffic light, where a red hand symbolically asks us to stop and consider the meaning of the exhibit itself.