Siah Armajani's “Bridge Over Tree” now overlooks the East River in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The piece wil be on view through Sept. 29. (Photo: Timothy Schenck for Public Art Fund.)
Famed Minneapolis artist Siah Armajani just landed in the Big Apple. “Follow This Line,” a career retrospective that opened last fall at Walker Art Center, went on view Wednesday at the Met Breuer in New York City.
His wife, Barbara Armajani, said the 79-year-old artist has been in good spirits for the entire trip -- but also extremely busy.
“Siah has had back-to-back [obligations] every minute, a walkthrough, a this and a that,” she said by phone Wednesday.
He was especialy elated by the recreation of his public sculpture “Bridge Over Tree” -- literally a 91-foot-long walkway that takes people over a single evergreen -- installed at Brooklyn Bridge Park by New York's Public Art Fund. The piece originally debuted in 1970 as part of a Walker sculpture show on the future site of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.
“The wood quality was probably better today than 50 years ago,” she said. “Every detail was just perfection.
Above: The original 1970 version of Armajani's "Bridge Over Tree." Photo: Walker Art Center.
The bridge is placed between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, with the East River and the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop. It is a clever juxtaposition between two completely utilitarian bridges for cars and pedestrians, and a bridge commenting on the idea of a bridge, located on the ground.
The show at the Met Breuer -- a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, located in a Marcel Breuer-designed building that originally was the Whitney Museum -- was organized by Walker assistant curator Victoria Sung and Met assistant curator Clare Davies. The layout differs from the Walker presentation, which wove through galleries and ascended several floors. At the Met Breuer, everything is arranged on a single floor, and Davies used wall partitions to create smaller spaces.
The Met exhibition also does not include Armajani’s latest series of “Seven Rooms for Hospitality,” three-dimensional miniature 3D printed models and one large-scale sculpture, all ironic nods to the inhospitable treatment of immigrants around the world. These works will be on view next month at the Armory Art Fair and the Independent Art Fair, two of New York’s major fairs.
The Walker exhibit also coincided with the repolishing of a significant public artwork: Armajani’s “Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge,” originally built in 1988 and now freshly repainted in “Jeffersonian yellow” and baby blue.
Above: Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge. Photo by Paul Schmelzer for Walker Art Center