A Wood 'Link'

 John Hill
22. August 2018
Photo by ImagenSubliminal (Miguel de Guzman + Rocio Romero) ​​​​​​​©The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, NY / ARS and Jorge Palacios
Ahead of his exhibition at the Noguchi Museum in Queens, Spanish sculptor Jorge Palacios has installed Link in a pedestrian triangle next to Madison Square Park in Manhattan. The bulbous wood sculpture sits proudly between the Flatiron and the Empire State Building.
Palacios's smooth, amorphous sculptures are akin to the artworks of the great Isamu Noguchi, so it's no suprise that the Queens institution will be displaying nine sculptures by the Madrid-based artist starting next month. Just as Rem Koolhaas categorized his architecture and planning as S,M,L,XL, Palacios groups his sculptures into small, medium, and extra-large. The first two will find temporary home at the Noguchi Museum, but the artist needed the New York City Department of Transportation’s Art Program and the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership to display his XL Link. Standing 13 feet (4m) tall, Link looks like a stumped creature that has taken up residence on the pedestrian island it shares with a cafe and tables and chairs.
Photo by ImagenSubliminal (Miguel de Guzman + Rocio Romero) ​​​​​​​©The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, NY / ARS and Jorge Palacios
Photo by ImagenSubliminal (Miguel de Guzman + Rocio Romero) ​​​​​​​©The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, NY / ARS and Jorge Palacios
I stopped by after work yesterday to see Link in its context and touch the smooth wood surfaces. The press photos (above) give the impression that the sculpture stands out, calling attention to itself. But on my visit most people were more enthralled with the Flatiron looming overhead than its new neighbor standing across from it. Nevertheless, the choice of material – Accoya wood – is an interesting one that draws the sculpture toward the architectural. As mass timber continues to infiltrate architectural design, Link stands as an inadvertant link between art and architecture, a connection formed through wood technology.
Photo: John Hill/World-Architects
Photo: John Hill/World-Architects

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