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Monumental sculptures of iconic New York buildings to emerge along the Park Avenue Malls
Rendering of Seagram Building in Alexandre Arrechea's No Limit series for Park Avenue. Courtesy of the artist / Magnan Metz Gallery.
NEW YORK, NY.- Magnan Metz Gallery, in conjunction with New York City’s Department of Parks & Recreation, and The Fund for the Park Avenue Sculpture Committee, announces Alexandre Arrechea’s No Limit, a new site-specific installation to emerge along Park Avenue, March 1 through June 9, 2013. Playing on the idea of elastic architecture as a metaphor for the challenges and opportunities of shifting conditions and new realities, No Limit will present 10 massive sculptures embodying New York’s most prominent buildings. Iconic landmarks represented will include: the Chrysler Building, Citicorp Center, Empire State Building, Flatiron building, Helmsley Building, MetLife Building, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, Seagram Building, Sherry Netherland, and US Courthouse. The sculptures, which will appear to roll, wind, and spin their way down Park Avenue from 53rd to 67th Street, will reach towering heights of up to 20 feet.

Throughout his work, artist Alexandre Arrechea uses sculpture, watercolor and video to ponder the idea of destabilizing traditional concepts held about icons and their function in society. The art is meant to create a dialogue with the public that raises questions of control, power, surveillance and one’s role within these categories. Through iconic architectural buildings and urban spaces, Arrechea plays and entices the viewer to explore this concept.

Taking the adaptation of architecture one step further, Arrechea created a series– After the Monument – in 2010 which featured rolled-up stainless steel skyscrapers which serves as the impetus for the No Limit series specific to Park Avenue. In each, Arrechea reshapes the concept of verticality and monumentality into a new reality: elastic architecture, or city. Sculptures maintain the façade and recognizable features of the iconic buildings, but also adopt new forms – an elasticity that is foreign to the structure. This concept serves as a metaphor to the challenges of adapting to new realities we face every day as individuals and society. The buildings are transformed into a tool, or snail-like shapes as if one could reel these rigid structures in like a hose – expanding and contracting with the rise and fall of the economy and the sociocultural and sociopolitical shifts that occur with economic changes.

“I believe the same way that a building is exposed to daily elements and changes – cold, heat, rain, fog – it is also exposed to constant changes in function – increases and decreases in market value, tenant use, and therefore purpose and social value. These persistent modifications are something I want to capture and embody in my work, creating a new model in constant negotiation with its surroundings,” states Alexandre Arrechea.

In the Park Avenue series, Arrechea also fuses the familiar structure of architectural landmarks to the bodies of spinning tops, or trompos (toy tops popular in Latin America) as another form of elasticity. The result is a “dancing city” or building in perpetual motion that can continuously spin, wind down, fall, or rise again.

“The Park Avenue project presents a form of marriage between New York City landmarks and architectural elements from different backgrounds. These elements, I believe, symbolically parallel facets of the human condition. With this installation, I have created a set of works that confront dynamism vs. static, the whole vs. the fragmented, control vs. chaos, utopia vs. reality. The series provides a new point of access from which to understand the dialog between art and architecture and how this relationship can evolve and open new doors,” further comments the artist.

“Parks has championed public art projects since 1967 and we’re thrilled to have Alexandre Arrechea’s artwork enliven the Park Avenue Malls with bold motifs inspired by the City’s skyline,” says Parks Commissioner Veronica White. “The Malls have featured captivating work from talented artists like Rafael Barrios, Will Ryman, Yoshitomo Nara, to name a few, and Alexandre’s work will be a wonderful addition to this distinguished list.”

In celebration of Alexandre Arrechea’s installation, Phillips will open a selling exhibition of the artist’s work at its 450 Park Avenue location on Saturday, April 6th. This accompanying presentation, curated by Alexandra Raponi from Phillips’ Contemporary Art Department alongside Alberto Magnan and Dara Metz of Magnan Metz Gallery, will feature Arrechea’s related sculptures, watercolors and video works. The exhibition will be inaugurated with an opening reception and book signing with the artist and will remain on view through Friday, April 12th, 2013.

A book on Alex Arrechea’s work, including the production of No Limit, will be published by Magnan Metz Gallery on the occasion of the Park Avenue Malls with essays by Lowery S. Sims, Curator, Museum of Art & Design and Holly Block, Director, The Bronx Museum of the Arts.

Born in Trinidad, Cuba, in 1970, Alexandre Arrechea graduated from the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) in Havana in 1994. He was a founding member of the collective Los Carpinteros (1991-2003). As a solo artist, Arrechea represented his homeland in the first ever Cuban Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2011) as well as the 11th Havana Biennial (2012). Arrechea was the Spring BAMbill cover artist as well as featured in “Hola Havana” for the Brooklyn Academy of Music as part of the ¡Si Cuba! Festival (2011). Among his recent solo exhibitions were Twisted Horizon at Magnan Metz Gallery, New York (2012), Espacio Derrotado at Casado-SantaPau Gallery, Madrid (2011), Black Sun, which was on the NASDAQ Billboard in New York (2010), The Rules of Play, Savannah College of Art and Design, Georgia (2010), and Orange Tree at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York (2011). He has participated in Dublin Contemporary 2011, Portugal Arte 2010, Bienal del Ponteverda, Spain (2010), the Moscow Biennial (2009), Thessaloniki Biennial of Contemporary Art, Greece and the Havana Biennial (2009).

Alex Arrechea is the latest in a long list of distinguished artists to exhibit on Park Avenue. Previous exhibitions have included George Rickey, Deborah Butterfield, Robert Indiana, François-Xavier and Claude Lelanne, Yoshitomo Nara and Will Ryman.



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