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Inspiration Board : Sarah Sze on the High Line

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Our offices here at Living are conveniently located just an avenue away from a newly erected set of stairs leading up to the High Line, Chelsea’s mile-and-a-half-long elevated park. If you are like a few of us here in the Crafts Department that have visited the newly opened second section of the park, you have probably walked through and under an enchanting stainless steel and wood sculpture by 20th street.

This work, entitled Still Life with Landscapes (Model for a Habitat), was made by New York–based artist Sarah Sze. Sarah was kind enough to share a bit about the process of making the sculpture, which started as a full-scale wood model. It was later fabricated in stainless steel and installed by her team on the High Line.

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Layout for

2 Layout for "Still Life with Landscapes (Model for a Habitat)"

Sarah says she

3 Sarah says she "wanted the sculpture to highlight a forward trajectory, literally shooting forward in space according to the rules of a perspective drawing.”

Sarah says she hoped that “birds, insects, and other wildlife would actually use the sculpture as a place to congregate and feed.

4 Sarah says she hoped that “birds, insects, and other wildlife would actually use the sculpture as a place to congregate and feed."

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The team installing the sculpture.

7 The team installing the sculpture.

Sarah says

8 Sarah says "The initial forecast was that it would rain all week during the installation. Instead, we contended with a heat wave, with temperatures in the 80's and 90's all week.”

Sarah says her sculpture was driven by three main goals: “highlighting the way the High Line frames nature within this distinct urban space, thinking about the sculpture as a site of experimentation, and finding a way for the sculpture to be essentially tied to the experience of movement on the High Line, rather than being another object to simply pass by.”

Sarah chose her materials for the sculpture wisely: “In keeping with the desire to disseminate the sculpture into the larger city, I choose mirrored stainless steel for the main structure. The reflective surface fractures and mirrors the surrounding landscape while also amplifying the effect of the changing light over the course of the day. The thin steel mimics the quality of a drawn line, emphasizing the sculpture as a perspective drawing in space.”

If you live in New York—or plan on visiting soon—and have yet to visit the High Line, you should! It’s a really remarkable canvas for public art.

Images courtesy of the artist and Friends of the High Line

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