Orly Genger’s “Red, Yellow and Blue” Adds Bands of Color to Madison Square Park

City Terrain, East
Thursday, May 2, 2013
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Installation view of Orly Genger’s Red, Yellow and Blue in Madison Square Park. (The Architect's Newspaper)

Installation view of Orly Genger’s Red, Yellow and Blue in Madison Square Park. (The Architect’s Newspaper)

Yesterday, brilliant sunshine, a gentle spring breeze, and 65 degree weather set the scene for the inauguration ceremony of Orly Genger’s remarkable new art installation, titled Red, Yellow and Blue, in Madison Square Park. As you navigate your way through the park you will find yourself surrounded by a fanciful scene, as vibrant undulating walls arch into blossoming trees, spill onto lush lawns, and unfurl all around you.

“Orly Genger has woven her magic throughout the park,” said Mayor Bloomberg, who spoke at the inauguration ceremony. The large-scale project was installed as the latest chapter of Mad. Sq. Art, a public contemporary arts program presented by Madison Square Park Conservancy that aims to revitalize the park as well as the surrounding community. “[Red Yellow and Blue] is both innovative and environmentally sustainable. It is projects like this that are a big part of what gives New York City our identity and attracts visitors to our city,” said Bloomberg.

Installation view of Orly Genger’s Red, Yellow and Blue in Madison Square Park. (James Ewing / Courtesy Madison Square Park Conservancy)

Installation view of Orly Genger’s Red, Yellow and Blue in Madison Square Park. (James Ewing / Courtesy Madison Square Park Conservancy)

The intense physical labor that was involved in the crafting of the massive rope-walls that enliven the park’s verdant lawns is as incredible as the end product. Genger and her team of assistants spent 9,000 hours in a Brooklyn warehouse tirelessly hand-knotting 1.4 million feet (equaling almost twenty times the length of Manhattan) of re-purposed nautical rope that was collected from lobster fishermen working along the New England coastline. The thick bands of hand-knotted, or “knit,” rope were painted using 4,000 gallons of red, yellow, and blue paint, and then transported to Madison Square Park where they were layered one on top of the other using steel supports. Three individual structures were then fashioned on-site to respond to the landscape of Madison Square Park.

Installation view of Orly Genger’s Red, Yellow and Blue in Madison Square Park. (James Ewing / Courtesy Madison Square Park Conservancy)

Installation view of Orly Genger’s Red, Yellow and Blue in Madison Square Park. (James Ewing / Courtesy Madison Square Park Conservancy)

Genger’s work communicates an interesting paradox. The artist implemented a historically “feminine,” domestic practice of knitting to create burly structures that dramatically transform the park and immediately weave visitors into this dynamic outdoor environment. “For Madison Square Park I wanted to create a work that would impress in scale and still engage rather than intimidate… The tradition of knitting carries the sharing of stories and the installation draws on that idea. The repurposed rope brings with it the stories of different locations and by knotting it, a space is created for the words and thoughts of viewers in New York City to complete the work, creating a silent dialogue that waves along,” explained Genger in a statement.

Red, Yellow and Blue is the New-York based artist’s largest work to date. The installation will be on view at Madison Square Park all throughout the summer, until September 8, 2013, after which Genger will re-imagine the installation to fit Massachusetts’s deCordova Sculpture Park.

Installation view of Orly Genger’s Red, Yellow and Blue in Madison Square Park. (The Architect's Newspaper)

Installation view of Orly Genger’s Red, Yellow and Blue in Madison Square Park. (The Architect’s Newspaper)

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