stone, stainless steel, sandblasted glass
For the City of New York, School Construction Authority Long Island City High School, Queens, New York
Linking geography with human scientific and cultural invention, the artist uses topographies, contours, elevations and scale relationships to transform this sculpture into a “mine” of meanings. This project starts at the main entrance of Long Island City High School, with two large, triangular, granite ramps flanking the doorway that topographically depict two specific places – an overhead view of the city blocks in New York City that surround and include the school, and the Olduvai Gorge in East Africa. These pieces, suggestive of middens, present the archeological pasts of the two regions as “areas of invention.” The capitals of the entrance columns are clad in three stainless steel relief panels representing prehistoric icons and their modern technological counterparts, such as a flint stone and an electric filament, or a prehistoric female icon and a Muybridge image.
The ceremonial staircase in the lobby has a series of cast stainless steel finials, each representing a specific mountain range, and the glass panels along the railing are etched with ornamental patterns referring to the cultures related to each mountain finial. Each step has a direct scale relationship to the selected mountain range, so that one passes various places and cultures, from the Appalachians to the Himalayas, while ascending or descending the staircase.
The artist seeks to provoke the students’ sense of investigation and discovery. The artworks can stand on their own, as aesthetic forms evoking “poetic” readings, but they are also configured to encourage further research. Interested students can find a key in the library prepared by the artist that deciphers these varied landscapes and iconographies using historical references