Surrealist sculptor Hugh Hayden subverts the classroom in a new commission for Madison Square Park entitled ‘Brier Patch‘. The installation will span across four separate lawns and feature a total of one-hundred wooden elementary school-style desks.
Here, the artist references folklore traditions around the world, calling on the notion of the brier patch as a place of protection for some and dangerous for others ~ not unlike the disparities within our current education system.
“In Hugh Hayden’s project, the overgrown configuration of branches overwhelms and encumbers the placidity of seats of childhood learning. Hayden imbues each of his works with intense meaning that, when peeled back, reveals lived experiences about rooted systems in our country and the world. He transforms everyday objects into new forms that expose the properties and purpose of the original source,” said Brooke Kamin Rapaport, Deputy Director and Martin Friedman Chief Curator of Madison Square Park Conservancy. “Brier Patch is both visually powerful and loaded with inherent tensions—growth and stagnation, seduction and peril, individual and community—that ask us to consider how these dichotomies coexist in engrained systems and the work on view.”
Dallas, Texas-born Hugh Hayden holds an MFA from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell. He lives and works in NYC.
Hugh Hayden: Brier Patch unveils on January 18 and will be on view to April 24, 2022 in Madison Square Park. Between 23rd and 26th Streets from Broadway to Madison Avenue, NYC.