It’s almost time to say farewell to a friend: the figure installed on the rooftop of our New York office for the past several months will be leaving when the Event Horizon exhibition closes on August 15.
Event Horizon is the U.S. public art debut of the acclaimed British sculptor Antony Gormley, presented by the Madison Square Park Conservancy as part of its Mad. Sq. Art series. The installation of 31 life-size body forms of Gormley cast in iron and fiberglass has inhabited the streets and skyline around Madison Square Park since March. While some initially feared the figures might be mistaken for naked jumpers—only in New York, kids—the sculptures quickly became a popular addition to the Flatiron District. Indeed, soon after our silent visitor arrived and was properly welcomed, he became part of the Pentagram family.
Nazim Ali, the building superintendent at our New York office, came to know the Gormley figure especially well. He shares his thoughts about the sculpture and exhibition in an interview that will be included in the Event Horizon catalogue, out later this month from Mad. Sq. Art:
I remember getting an email from my building manager informing us about the project, and that we would have one of the sculptures on our building. I read about Antony Gormley and his exhibition in England, along the Thames River, so this was exciting to me. I like art—I have children, and I take them to museums. But a museum is a place you have to go to see art, and I prefer this, out in public. This way seems more natural to me—like you can see the artwork in nature, in a more natural state.
I can see many of the sculptures from my building and the park and I like to look at the other ones, but mine is my favorite. He’s a part of my life now, I never really forget about him. I come up here three, four times every week to check on him, to make sure he is okay, to make sure nobody abuses him. In a way I feel lucky to stand up here, next to him. Sometimes I like to look down at the people below on the street; they’re talking and pointing, asking questions, wishing they could come up here. They observe him, and he observes us.
Sometimes I wonder what he is thinking, or what he would be thinking. To me, it’s very simple—it’s just a person looking out at the world and announcing: “I am here.” But every person has a different exposure to this; everyone on the street has different questions and thoughts. People always say a picture is worth a thousand words and these sculptures are the same way—maybe more so.