View Full Version : SKY MIRROR -- Anish Kapoor at Rock Center
August 8th, 2006, 05:12 PM
Above and below:
Computer renderings of Anish Kapoor’s Sky Mirror, 2006
Courtesy Performance Structures
At Rockefeller Center
Organized by Public Art Fund
Hosted by Tishman Speyer
September 19 - October 27, 2006
This fall, internationally renowned artist Anish Kapoor will exhibit a new, monumental sculpture at Rockefeller Center in New York—Sky Mirror, a breathtaking, 35-foot-diameter concave mirror made of polished stainless steel. Standing nearly three stories tall at the Fifth Avenue entrance to the Channel Gardens, Sky Mirror will offer a dazzling experience of light and architecture, presenting viewers with a vivid inversion of the skyline featuring the historic landmark building at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
Sky Mirror will be on view, free and open to the public, from September 19th through October 27th, 2006. This exhibition is presented by Tumi, organized by the Public Art Fund and hosted by Rockefeller Center owner Tishman Speyer.
An urban, contemporary, and ever-changing aesthetic variation on the 18th-century landscape painting tradition, Sky Mirror literally brings the sky down to the ground. The large, 23-ton circular stainless steel sculpture will be installed on a platform a few feet above street level. Its concave side, angled upward, will face 30 Rockefeller Plaza, reflecting an upside-down portrait of this elegant and iconic New York City skyscraper and the shifting sky around it. Its convex side, facing Fifth Avenue, will reflect a more earthly vision: viewers in the midst of the adjacent streetscape. The sculpture is freestanding, with polished surfaces that are seamless and uninterrupted. This optical object will change through the day and night and is an example of what Kapoor describes as a "non-object," a sculpture that, despite its monumentality, suggests a window or void and often seems to vanish into its surroundings.
Anish Kapoor is one of the foremost artists of our time. He first became known in the 1980s for his geometric or biomorphic sculptures made using simple—often elemental—materials such as granite, limestone, marble, pigment and plaster. His sculptures extend the formal precepts of minimalism into an intensely spiritual and psychological realm, drawing viewers in with their rich colors, sensuously refined surfaces, and startling optical effects of depth and dimension. Since the mid-1990s he has explored the notion of the void, creating works that seem to—and sometimes do—recede into the distance, disappear into walls or floors, or otherwise destabilize our assumptions about the physical world. They give visceral and immediate impact to abstract dualities such as presence and absence, infinity and illusion, solidity and intangibility.
Kapoor is focused on the active or transformative properties of the materials he uses. "I am really interested in the 'non-object' or the 'non-material.' I have made objects in which things are not what they at first seem to be. A stone may lose its weight or a mirrored object may so camouflage itself in its surroundings as to appear like a hole in space," says Kapoor. From works such as Turning the World Inside Out (1995) to the massive 125-ton sculpture Cloud Gate (2004) on permanent display in Chicago's Millennium Park, Kapoor's reflective sculptures engage audiences directly, fusing object, viewer, and environment into one physical, constantly fluctuating form.
About the artist
Anish Kapoor was born in Bombay in 1954, and currently lives and works in London. He attended the Hornsey College of Art (1973-77) and Chelsea School of Art, London (1977-78). Kapoor is one of a generation of British sculptors, along with fellow British sculptors Tony Cragg and Richard Deacon, who gained critical recognition in the 1980s and who share an interest in materials and use of abstract, organic form. In his early series 1000 Names (1989-90), the artist focused on geometry and color, installing arrangements of semi-circles, planes and other shapes coated in particles of bright pigment. In 1990 he represented Britain at the Venice Biennale with Void Field , an installation of rough sandstone blocks topped with black holes, and over the course of the decade his sculptures ventured into more ambitious, increasingly sublime manipulations of form and space. He won the Turner Prize in 1992 and, ten years later, received the prestigious Unilever Commission for the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern in London.
Among his major permanent commissions are Cloud Gate (2004) for the Millennium Park in Chicago, and a forthcoming sculpture for the British Memorial Garden in New York. Major solo exhibitions throughout his career have taken place at MAC Grand-Hornu, Belgium (2004); Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples (2004); Kunsthaus Bregenz (2003); BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (1999); Piazza del Plebiscito, Naples (1999); Hayward Gallery, London (1998); and Fondazione Prada, Milano (1995). Kapoor is represented by Gladstone Gallery in New York.
Presented by http://publicartfund.org/pafweb/projects/06/kapoor/tumi.gif (http://www.tumi.com/)
Organized by Public Art Fund and Hosted by Tishman Speyer (http://www.tishmanspeyer.com/)
Anish Kapoor’s Sky Mirror will be exhibited at Fifth Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets, at the end of Rockefeller Center's Channel Gardens.
August 20th, 2006, 05:56 PM
A Most Public Artist Polishes a New York Image
Courtesy Performance Structures and Public Art Fund
A computer rendering of what Anish Kapoor’s “Sky Mirror” may look like after it is installed next month
at Rockefeller Center. The artist has never had a large public-art piece shown in New York.
NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/20/arts/design/20kenn.html?ref=arts)
By RANDY KENNEDY
August 20, 2006
WALKING around the cluster of warehouses in South London where the sculptor Anish Kapoor works, it’s easy to forget that they are an artist’s studio and not the planning division of a multinational corporation. In one room there’s a maquette for a Naples subway entrance, which resembles a massive mock-turtleneck collar made of Cor-Ten steel. Nearby sit sculptures and models of projects planned for Rio de Janeiro, Milan, Munich, rural New Zealand and a handful of other far-flung locations.
One recent steamy morning, dressed in modified work garb — an old polo shirt, paint-smudged shorts, black socks and black dress shoes — Mr. Kapoor emerged energetically from his office to show off a drawing of yet another ambitious project, a sprawling outdoor sculpture, final destination still undetermined, that he described cheerfully as “two huge holes in a field connected by a kind of colostomy bag.”
At 52, Mr. Kapoor has become such a star on the public art circuit that many nations might compete for the privilege of having him embed a giant intestinal prosthetic somewhere in their countryside. “Cloud Gate,” the 125-ton stainless steel mirrored blob he unveiled last year in Millennium Park in Chicago ( WNY LINK (http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5130&highlight=kapoor) ), has been embraced — despite a cost overrun of more than $10 million — with near-rapture by Chicagoans, who flock to see their skyline in its polished surface and have affectionately nicknamed it the Bean. (“Let’s be frank,” The Chicago Tribune wrote recently, “the Bean is hot.”)
William Zbaren for The New York Times
Kapoor's “Cloud Gate,” drew raves in Chicago.
But Mr. Kapoor has never had a public-art presence in New York, despite his following and his longtime representation by the Gladstone Gallery in Chelsea. “Over the years,” he said, “there have been many opportunities to do things in the city that, for whatever reason, just haven’t worked out.”
That is about to change. Next month he will join a procession of artists that has included Jeff Koons, Louise Bourgeois and Nam June Paik, to be enshrined in the city’s center stage for public art, Rockefeller Center. “Sky Mirror,” Mr. Kapoor’s dish of highly reflective stainless steel almost three stories tall, is being welded and polished in Oakland, Calif.; it will make its way by truck across the country and be on view from Sept. 19 to Oct. 27. Its concave side will face 30 Rockefeller Plaza and invert the skyscraper in its reflection.
Sometime next year another work, this one permanent, will be installed at Hanover Square in Lower Manhattan, the site of the British Memorial Garden now being built to honor the 67 Britons who died in the Sept. 11 attacks ( WNY LINK (http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3121&highlight=kapoor)).
The sculpture, which was selected in a juried competition, is a 20-foot-tall funereal block of black granite into which a vertical opening, again highly polished, will be carved. The chamber will reflect light in such a way to create the illusion of a column floating in the void of the stone, with a flamelike apparition hovering inside the column.
Both works are extensions of Mr. Kapoor’s almost career-long interest in sculptural incorporeality. Borrowing ideas from Minimalist and post-Minimalist predecessors like Donald Judd, Bruce Nauman and Eva Hesse but using deep matte colors, reflectiveness and other illusions, he makes boundaries seem to disappear with an effect that is often overtly sensual and spiritual. Mr. Kapoor, who first rose to prominence in the mid-1980’s and won the Turner Prize in Britain in 1991, calls them nonobjects.
HIS obsession with the paradoxes of this kind of work can seem at times almost schoolboyish. In his studio he showed off a model of “Sky Mirror” about the size of a large round conference table that had been made when an earlier, smaller version of the sculpture was installed five years ago in Nottingham, England.
Photographs: Martine Hamilton-Knight
Sky Mirror, Nottingham (http://www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk/skymirror/frames/skylongframe.html)
The model was dust coated and crammed in a corner of the studio, but Mr. Kapoor threaded his way through scraps of other sculptures and demonstrated how, looking at the concave side of the mirror, it appears as if there is a solid surface plane where there is none, only air and illusion.
“It’s a space filled with mirror,” he said, grinning and adding that he sees the work partly as an “oculus in the space,” reminiscent of the oculus that lets in light at the top of the Pantheon in Rome, except that this one has no dome attached, a hole without the doughnut.
In person Mr. Kapoor, a compact man with graying hair and an elegant accent, is gracious and briskly charming and clearly relishes showing off his various works in progress. About a half-dozen assistants, some wearing protective goggles and breathing masks, were arrayed throughout the cavernous studio, polishing, sanding, cutting and carrying, all a little weary looking because of a recent heat wave.
“That’s a corner piece, a very naughty little corner piece,” Mr. Kapoor said, pointing to a fiberglass sculpture, unmistakably shaped like a vagina, being sanded for an upcoming exhibition at Lisson Gallery, where he has long shown in London. He was also very excited about a model for an exhibition in Munich that involves a huge dark red wax-and-pigment block shaped like a railroad car, with a rolling undercarriage, that very slowly makes its way on tracks through a series of rooms, squeezing through doorways that are slightly too small for the block so that the wax scrapes off like viscera onto the openings.
“It’s defining space, which is what I’m into,” he said of the piece, with its unsettling connotations, especially for a show in Germany. “Exactly quite where the hell it’s going I just don’t know right now.”
While friendly, Mr. Kapoor also seems impatient that these days his social and professional obligations — he was recently chosen to be a trustee of the Tate galleries and in 2003 was named a Commander of the British Empire — mean less time in his studio and more time being interviewed, traveling and sitting through meetings. “The studio isn’t a place to make stuff — that’s not my conception of it — it’s a place to think,” he said, adding, “I want public projects to grow out of my studio practice.”
Last year, not long after he was chosen to create a work by Tishman Speyer Properties, a co-owner of Rockefeller Center, and the nonprofit Public Art Fund, which helps to organize projects at the center, Mr. Kapoor came to New York to take a good hard look at the area. He was, he says, briefly at a loss.
“It’s a very difficult space,” he said. “I mean, there are already so many things there that one wonders: Do I really need to put anything else? What’s the point?”
So his first thought was to put something there that wasn’t a sculpture at all. He considered the possibility of using misted water and lights to create a rainbow that would arch over Rockefeller Plaza, an idea he first explored more than 30 years ago in a show at the Serpentine Gallery in London.
“Isn’t that beautiful?” he asked, looking at a rendering of the rainbow on his assistant’s computer screen.
He also thought about assembling a smoke maker, fans and suction to produce a tall column of smoke, which would mimic the center’s skyscrapers in an ethereal, twirling form. He is creating a similar work for an exhibition coming up in Rio, and when he flicked a switch in one of his studios recently, a tiny column of smoke — like a skinny tornado — materialized in a Plexiglass-enclosed model of the exhibition space.
But partly because of the technical challenges of the rainbow and the smoke and also because, as Mr. Kapoor puts it, “I don’t think I’m done with it yet,” he decided to revisit the Nottingham “Sky Mirror” in more monumental form in New York. (“Who ever goes to Nottingham?” he added mischievously when asked whether he worried about repeating himself. “Who’s ever seen it?”)
The solution to the space’s density was a sculpture whose presence could be detected, at least from a distance, only by its reflection of the city crowding around it. And to heighten the mirror’s effect Mr. Kapoor decided to place the work not where the other art projects have been — in Rockefeller Plaza, where the Christmas tree looms during the holidays — but at the Fifth Avenue entrance to the Channel Gardens, the better to encompass much of 30 Rockefeller Plaza and also reflect the life of Fifth Avenue.
THOUGH his public work is unabashedly crowd-pleasing, Mr. Kapoor’s intentions are often deeply philosophical. His mirrored piece might be thought of as a sculptural twist on the ideas of the German philosopher Johann Fichte, who wrote about self-consciousness being possible only through the resistance an individual encounters from external objects; in other words, something defined by what it is not.
Yet Mr. Kapoor has also insisted that his work does not follow any narrative impulse, and he grows visibly impatient when questions about meaning come up. “As an artist,” he said once, “I have really nothing to say. Otherwise I would have become a journalist.”
But there are many hints in the work that such declarations are at least a little disingenuous. And because of the way his mirror will turn a tower on its head, essentially bringing the sky down to the earth, it will undoubtedly be seen as some kind of commentary on Sept.11.
“What happens with public art or any art is that people are going to read things into it that are part of the contextual environment,” said Rochelle Steiner, the director of the Public Art Fund, which is working on the project with Tumi, the luggage company, which is sponsoring it. “I think you can’t do anything in this city that involves a big building and it not make a reference to 9/11.”
But she added that mostly she thought tourists and New Yorkers alike would receive “Sky Mirror” in the same way that Chicago has received “Cloud Gate,” as a kind of populist gift. “You can’t help but sort of marvel around this piece,” she said. “It’s like a big metal magnet drawing you toward it.”
Because Mr. Kapoor was born and raised in Bombay, the son of a Hindu father and an Iraqi mother, there is also a chance that the work could be seen as a sly riff on Western power and hubris, with the Rockefellers’ triumphal architecture as its target. Mr. Kapoor did not discount such interpretations but said that they were not part of his conscious intention, and that, like much of his work, this one is fundamentally about the space it will occupy, in the dense heart of a dense city.
“One of the things that ‘Sky Mirror’ tries to take on is that there’s so much monumentality, enmeshed, pushing up there,” he said, calling the mirror “a kind of phenomenological approach to the city as a concrete fact.”
But, he added: “Any kind of communication, any language, necessarily leads to meaning, and the job of abstract art today is to work with those residual meanings. A narrative arises. And I think it’s what you do with it that makes the work successful or not.”
He said he also thinks of the piece, and of all his outdoor reflective work, as not simply sculpture but as a conceptual variation on landscape painting: a kind of living, self-creating landscape painting that literally holds up a mirror to nature, as Stendhal said of the landscapes of Constable, whose cloud studies inspired Mr. Kapoor.
Of course, in Mr. Kapoor’s case, the mirror is curved and warped, a postmodern funhouse version of verisimilitude, one that, on its convex side facing Fifth Avenue, will stretch the images of passers-by into exaggerated El Greco elongations and, on the other, will turn them upside down, along with the rest of the world.
“Upside-down clouds really do look upside down,” he observed. “They’re not the same.
“I don’t think New York will look quite the same either.”
Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
September 13th, 2006, 12:33 PM
Rockefeller Center prepping for 23-ton 'Sky Mirror'
September 13, 2006
Rockefeller Center is making way or the installation later this week of Anish Kapoor's 23-ton "Sky Mirror (http://publicartfund.org/pafweb/projects/06/kapoor/kapoor-06.html)."
The 35-foot concave mirror will reach nearly three-stories high, situated near Fifth Avenue in Rockefeller Center's Channel Gardens. The foundation has been poured, leaving Rockefeller Center's historic site marker sticking out of drying concrete.
"Sky Mirror" should pull an inverted view of the skyline -- including 30 Rockefeller Plaza -- down to ground level. It will be on diaplay from September 19 through October 27.
®Copyright 2006, All Rights Reserved
September 19th, 2006, 09:46 AM
September 18, 2006
Unveiling the Sky Mirror
In anticipation of tomorrow’s unveiling, Anish Kapoor’s Sky Mirror (http://www.razorapple.com/2006/09/15/behold-the-almost-new-sky-mirror/) is getting full service treatment. This evening at least a half dozen workers polished and buffed the convex and concave steel surfaces to a shine. At 35 feet in diameter and 23 tons, readying the Sky Mirror for display is no small task.
Sky Mirror will be on display to the public from September 19 through October 26, 2006. It’s located at Rockefeller Center (5th Avenue between 49th and 50th Street (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=ny,+ny&ie=UTF8&z=17&ll=40.758172,-73.977594&spn=0.00343,0.010815&om=1)).
Photographs, let alone renderings, hardly do this piece justice. Go check it out, but be prepared to elbow your way through a crowd. People were already massing around to catch a mirrored glimpse of themselves. We wonder how many rubbernecking drivers will crash their cars driving past on 5th Avenue.
September 19th, 2006, 10:05 AM
September 19, 2006
Dust and cracks fail to diminish Kapoor's mirror on Fifth Avenue
Ed Pilkington in New York
Anish Kapoor is a worried man. "Can you please watch the dust!" he pleads with a builder sweeping up around his new artwork. "We've spent days cleaning it."
"The wind blows, what are you supposed to do?" replies the builder.
There's something else that is worrying Kapoor. After four days and nights assembling and polishing the work, one of its panels still needs tightening, leaving a tiny crack in its otherwise flawless steel surface. "That crack is bugging me like mad," he says.
Sky Mirror, to be officially unveiled today, is one of the British sculptor's most ambitious and awe-inspiring creations. Ten metres in diameter, the giant gleaming disc will be placed for six weeks on the side of Fifth Avenue facing the famous central plaza of the Rockefeller Centre.
The effortlessness with which it rests on its edge at a 60-degree angle belies the extraordinary precision - down to hundredths of a millimetre - required to make its 16 parts fit.
Studies were made of the sun's movement over the site at this time of year and the work positioned accordingly to prevent sunlight ever striking it directly.
The result is classic Kapoor: a play on light and geometry in which the disc seems to float just above the stream of New York cabs.
On its Fifth Avenue side it is convex, giving a fish-eye view of the bustling street.
Seen from the Rockefeller Centre it is concave and turns the sky and the famous 30 Rock tower upside down - a thought-provoking act in post-9/11 Manhattan.
"On one side a big urban streetscape, on the other a serene landscape of inverted sky: it's stunning," said Rochelle Steiner of the Public Art Fund that commissioned the piece.
© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006
September 19th, 2006, 10:34 AM
all on the “sky mirror”. History, technique .....
September 19th, 2006, 11:00 AM
September 19, 2006
Something Shiny This Way Comes!
Posted by Jake Dobkin
Self-portraiturists rejoice: Anish Kapoor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anish_Kapoor)'s "Sky Mirror" sculpture was unveiled this morning at Rockefeller Center. Any photoblogger worth their memory card is planning a visit today, so to get into the spirit, we're going to award a Gothamist t-shirt to the shooter who captures the best sky-mirror shot. Add your link in the comments below, and we'll announce a winner at 6pm.
To get things started, here are some shots that have already been taken:
Jason Kottke drew first blood on Monday night (http://flickr.com/photos/jkottke/245449515/)
Razor Apple visited yesterday and caught the polishing (http://www.razorapple.com/2006/09/18/unveiling-the-sky-mirror/)
JauntyJoker was there later on and got some moody night shots (http://www.flickr.com/photos/64743343@N00/sets/72157594290801402/)
Brian Sholis went this morning and got the shot above (http://flickr.com/photos/briansholis/sets/72157594290978863/), along with some others
2003-2006 Gothamist LLC.
September 20th, 2006, 10:22 AM
September 19, 2006
October 13th, 2006, 01:06 PM
Public Art Fund:
October 17th, 2006, 11:06 PM
Vertical pano by RFC Graphics:
October 18th, 2006, 12:33 AM
Someone please tell me it's temporary, or there will soon be some brick-hurling to be administered at a certain mirror.
disclaimer: I do not actually intending to do that, for those willing to already report me. So when someone with a similar idea does it (I am probably not the only one), don't blame me.
October 18th, 2006, 08:17 AM
It is permanent Le Com -- they will now continue to add new art pieces throughout Rock Center until it is chock full and the pedestrians are driven out able to view the Channel Gardens only from behind police barriers ;)
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