Next month, Harlem’s Morningside Park can expect a Reclining Liberty by artist Zaq Landsberg to be installed at the base of the stairs near 120th Street and Manhattan Avenue. This timely public art installation was proposed Wednesday at Community Board 9 Meeting by Brad Taylor, President, Friends of Morningside Park, and Connie Lee, Curator/Organizer, Public Art Initiative/Living With Art Salon and President, Marcus Garvey Park Alliance.
In his artist statement, Zaq Landsberg speaks to his fascination with monuments as symbols of power. “They are literally where the political and the aesthetic meet…. the historical context from where they emerged, and how that shapes neighborhoods/spaces/communities today. This interest has magnified recently, as we are in the midst of a national rethinking on what monuments signify, how they affect different communities, and how we should (re)design monuments.”
“History, context and site are vital. My work has chameleon qualities, it adjusts to its location. Most of my work is site specific. I tailor my pieces to fit their neighborhood. I’m drawn to work in the public sphere. Access is vital for my work. I’m fascinated by surface, appearances, and its power to overwhelm a viewer’s sense of reason.”
As we can see by the illustrations, the 24-foot x 5-foot x 7-foot Reclining Liberty will do just that. The scale of the installation is realized set next to an illustrative image of Connie Lee, President of Marcus Garvey Park Alliance.
“I amplify reality by taking materials to logical extremes. My work takes existing objects and twists them, in scale, in location, in material and post to force the viewer to confront an idea that previously might have breezed above their heads. My goal is not just to push the limits of what materials or form can do in a sculpture, but to push the viewers to rethink their own relationship to monuments, history, and public space.”
Born in Los Angeles, Landsberg holds a BFA from NYU and lives in Harlem, just blocks away from the Reclining Liberty site in Morningside Park.
A series of guided and self-guided art walks that connect the neighborhoods of Central and East Harlem, featuring art installations in Morningside Park, A DOT installation on the plaza at A. Philip Randolph Square, and 2021 installations in Marcus Garvey Park and Harlem Art Park. Marcus Garvey Park Alliance (MGPA) will include a full-color, tri-fold printed map that will be issued in Fall, 2020, reissued and updated in Spring/Summer, 2021.
Zaq Landsberg: Reclining Liberty will be on view from November 22, 2020 to November 1, 2021 in Morningside Park, 120th Street and Manhattan Avenue in Harlem. Approved by NYC Parks Department, this is a fully funded project. The artist has been awarded funding from LMCC and UMEZ additional funding is being provided by the Friends of Morningside Park and the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance.