NEW YORK, NY.- The Garment District Alliance unveiled The Sentinels, a group of five colossal sculptures created with recycled tires that will intrigue pedestrians on Broadways Garment District Plazas this summer.
Designed by iconic New York-based artist Chakaia Booker, the exhibit occupies the neighborhoods fully landscaped pedestrian spaces on Broadway from 36th to 39th Streets in the Garment District. It also marks the debut of LBD Duty Free, a new, never-before-seen artwork created specially for this installation. Also featuring Shapeshifter, Gridlock, One Way and Take Out, The Sentinels will fascinate, intimidate and inspire through November.
Friends, supporters, neighborhood residents and workers, and passersby joined Ms. Booker and the Garment District Alliance at a special reception celebrating the unveiling.
Since we announced the world-renowned Chakaia Booker would be bringing The Sentinels to the Garment District this summer, the buzz and anticipation have continued to mount, said Barbara Blair Randall, president of the Garment District Alliance. I am confident this will be the most talked-about public art installation anywhere in New York City this summer, and demonstrate the Garment Districts time is now.
Placing these sculptures in the Garment District suggests a cross pollination, and cultivation of current, past and future behavior, said Chakaia Booker. I hope this installation helps create a sense of community progression, symbolizing how this neighborhood has grown into the vibrant, creative and artistic center it is today.
Ms. Booker uses rubber tires supported by stainless steel tubing to create her large-scale sculptures. She works with her fabricator and an engineer, fostering creativity while considering balance and lasting durability for each piece.
With the help of her fabricator Alston Van Putten Jr., she uses design software to cultivate an idea and then create a small-scale model. They then use this small-scale model as a guide for the actual support framework, made of stainless steel. She employs a variety of power tools to manipulate the tires into the desired forms and attach them to the metal frames.
The proposal for The Sentinels was selected in April by a panel of art experts following a process that prompted more than 70 submissions.
The DOT Art Program works hand in hand with Business Improvement Districts to enliven streetscapes with temporary art, said New York City Department of Transportations Assistant Commissioner of Urban Design and Art Wendy Feuer. We are especially excited to be working with Chakaia Booker this year, which will bring a new level of art to our plazas in the Garment District.
Chakaia Booker has a BA degree in Sociology from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and an MFA in Sculpture and Painting from the City College of NY CUNY. Independently, she also has studied African dance, Tai Chi, ceramics, weaving, designing and creating wearable art and other media that helped shape her artistic practice. Ms. Booker began working with tires in the early 1990s and uses the different tread patterns, colors and textures to create metaphors for universal social issues. The Sentinels represent the strength of American identity while the tires' various colors and textures symbolize the contributions of all these diverse groups to the great energy of the Garment District and the larger society.
Ms. Booker lives in New York City and works in New York and Allentown, PA. Her works are part of the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Storm King Art Center, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the National Museum of Women in the Arts and other important institutions. Booker has also contributed to solo and group exhibitions at the Neuberger Museum of Art , the P.S.I. Contemporary Art Center, the Twentieth Century American Sculpture exhibition at the White House, the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, the Pydras Corridor Sculpture Exhibition in New Orleans and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. Internationally, her work has shown in China, France, Spain and Japan.