Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls

Written by Ashna Ali on . Posted in Posts.


The London vs. New York City feud has raged unabated for years. And we have some serious catching up to do. Now that Olafur Eliasson has created “New York City Waterfalls,” a site-specific work for the city, we won’t feel left out after the Tate Modern’s incredible “Weather Project” sun installation that attracted locals and tourists alike.



Commissioned by the Public Art Fund, the installation takes place in the East River from late June through mid-October. The project consists of four four-to-six-story tall, man-made waterfalls temporarily at sites along the waterfront in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Governors Island: one on the Brooklyn anchorage of the Brooklyn Bridge, one between Piers 4 and 5 below the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, one in Lower Manhattan at Pier 35 north of the Manhattan Bridge, and one on the north shore of Governors Island. They’ll be spraying from from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, and will be lit after sunset. And since this won’t be the typical exhibit to be experienced in a museum setting, Circle Line Downtown will be running the official water tours.



This internationally acclaimed Danish artist’s project is constructed of the industrial material that New Yorkers encounter on a daily basis: scaffolding. It is clearly visible underneath the enormous gush of water from the East River falling through the sunlight, pushed up to the top by pumps.



They will be one of the greatest earthworks New York City has allowed in some time. Don’t worry about what it will do to the aquatic habitat, either: The fountains are designed to protect marine life and water quality, filtering the water through intake pools suspected in the river beneath each structure. They also run on “green power,” or electricity generated from renewable sources. “In developing The New York City Waterfalls, I have tried to work with today’s complex notion of public spaces,” wrote Eliasson. “The waterfalls appear in the midst of the dense social, environmental and political tissue that makes up the heart of New York City. They will give people the possibility to reconsider their relationships to these spectacular surroundings, and I hope they will evoke experiences that are both individual and enhance a sense of collectivity…I believe that we need to make nature tangible and relevant to add clarity to the discussion of natural resources.”



So whether you’re looking for a glamorous new artwork, a historical exploration of the city, an environmentalist statement to support, some time in the sun with the wind in your hair, or to see a waterfall without traveling upstate, this summer’s “New York City Waterfalls” will be the event you’ll be talking about to anyone not in the city. Eat that London.



Info regarding “New York City Waterfalls” June 26-Oct. 13 at publicartfund.org. Visit www.circlelinedowntown.com for info on tours.

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