Sculpture artist Zaq Landsberg created and presented the illustration for this piece during the last administration, prior to COVID-19 and our citywide shutdown. It was inspired by Buddhist imagery, and meant to depict our iconic American landmark, weary, reclining, and asking the question ~ “what stage of America are we in.” COVID-19 closed our city, and Reclining Lady lay waiting, like all of us, for better days.
Fast-forward one year (or-what a difference a year makes). With a new administration and a city that is beginning to bloom along with spring, Zaq Landsberg: Reclining Liberty will emerge from the artists’ studio, with an installation date set for the end of April, 2021 in Morningside Park, Harlem
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.
Through Connie Lee, President, Marcus Garvey Park Alliance; Curator/Organizer, Public Art Initiative/Living With Art Salon, we learned that a series of guided and self-guided art walks, connecting the neighborhoods of Central and East Harlem, will feature art installations in Morningside Park and other Harlem/East Harlem locations. This will be available in spring, with date TBA.
Zaq Landsberg: Reclining Liberty will be on view the end of April, 2021 (TBA) in Morningside Park, at the base of the stairs at 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.
Zaq Landsberg: Reclining Liberty is on the new Public Art Park to Park Guide. This free walking guide will take you from Harlem to East Harlem. Pick one up at Amuse Bouche in the historic La Marqueta in East Harlem.