Monolithic, sinuous barriers of rope make up Red, Yellow and Blue, a public art installation by the artist Orly Genger, inaugurated yesterday as part of the Madison Square Park Conservancy's Mad. Sq. Art program. Mayor Bloomberg, Conservancy President Debbie Landau, and Genger spoke at the opening, dwarfed by a portion of Red behind the podium.
The three sections–each one a separate color–twist and undulate in different parts of the park, simulating topography and curving around trees. In total, 1.4 million feet of rope was layered, painted, and knotted, with warped steal beams as infrastructure. The project, hand-woven in a Greenpoint warehouse, took 9,000 hours to complete—an artistic process if there ever was one. The final structure betrays the material; the wound cords are visible from up-close.
Genger, dressed in all black save for yellow earrings and colored bangles of her own design (also made of rope), was happy to see the installation come to fruition, describing it as a "very labor intensive building process." To get started, she had needed rope aplenty, which she found on the industrialized coast. "They had mounds of it," she said. "The added benefit was using recycled material that would have otherwise been dumped."
Fifty tons of painted, tangled fisherman's rope gathered from the eastern seaboard is a strange thing to come across in midtown Manhattan, but Bloomberg noted its aptness. "When people originally bought this rope, I don't think they thought it would wind up in Madison Square Park," he said. "But that is in fact what happened. And, since it's both innovative and environmentally sustainable, it is a perfect fit for our city."
Will people come see it? Bloomberg thinks so: "[Genger's] intricate and inventive constructions are sure to rope thousands of visitors into one of our city's most attractive public parks." He added, "Hard to work a 'rope' joke in."
RED, YELLOW, AND BLUE OPENS TO THE PUBLIC TODAY AND WILL BE IN MADISION SQUARE PARK THROUGH SEPTEMBER 8.