New Art in Riverside Park South

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Seven large-scale sculptures featured

The Art Students League of New York, one of America's premier art schools, opened its third annual "Model to Monument" (M2M), a partnership with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, June 19, in Riverside Park South on the Upper West Side. This year's M2M sculptures include a Riverside Park bench tethered to a bouy, a bather on stilts near a life raft and briefcase, and a 15-foot swirl of birds in flight.

To reach Riverside Park South, enter on 59th Street at 12th Avenue and walk north.

M2M trains a group of seven international sculptors in the public art process and installs their works in Riverside Park South.

M2M sculptors create public works in tune with their site-specific installation environments. This year the group worked under the theme: "The Public Square: The Role and Responsibility of the Artist."

Works are diverse. For example, Beñat Iglesias Lopez's Bathers evokes Seurat, and draws on historical photos of people in swimsuits along the Hudson River. It includes a bather on 15-foot stilts, and mixes common but disparate elements to unsettle the viewer. Anna Kuchel Rabinowitz's two Preservation pieces, including the park bench tethered to a buoy, provoke viewers to consider the probability of rising tides. Quotes from people she has interviewed in and around the park are inscribed on the buoy piece, Preservation: A Wonderful Life.

Anne Stanner's Wave references the striped bass. Concern over threats to the fish's Hudson River habitat helped derail the Westway highway project, essentially allowing Riverside Park South to come into existence.

The other M2M sculptors are Sherwin Banfield, John N. Erianne, Reina Kubota, and Morito Yasumitsu.

M2M is supported in part by a grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund's Pivotal Place: New York City program, whose goals include cultivating civic life and the natural environment, encouraging immigrant civic participation, and supporting individual achievement and artistic expression.

Riverside Park is home to a number of permanent statues, monuments and historic structures, including the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial, Grant's Tomb National Monument, and statues or memorials of Joan of Arc, Ralph Ellison, Eleanor Roosevelt and many more.

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