Contemporary Art In The City By Camilla Hellman

Marc Quinn's Fortuna

In the days running up to the Contemporary Art Auction at Sothebys New York, a wonderful, large and athletic sculpture sat at the side of the Sothebys building with a guard stood posted by her. This, I learnt, was Fortuna by British artist Marc Quinn, sitting on the pavement on York Avenue and 72nd Street – sparkling white as the traffic and neighbourhood rushed up. I walk my Corgi Lulu there daily and I became quite intrigued by this wonderful sculpture. The work was expected to fetch between $800,000 and $1.2million. The Contemporary Art Auction offered 398 lots, of which 311 were sold. Fortuna, sadly, was not sold. I miss Fortuna on the street, though – this was a really rather beautiful study.

Sebastian Masuda

Sebastian Masuda

I love the temporary public art that pops ups throughout New York – it makes the city so interesting – and the other week offered a new surprise. As I made my way up Second Avenue in abysmal New York traffic, a very large, be-bowed Hello Kitty sculpture made me detour….who and what was this?? What was this unusual, almost whimsical, piece sitting in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, just by the United Nations? It is Hello Kitty, the work of 25 year old Japanese artist Sebastian Masuda. The nine foot tall, giant sculpture (which looks rather cuddly, I think) is where New Yorkers can deposit personal objects – all part of Masuda’s “Time Capsule” project.

Hello Kitty

First viewed at Art Basel Miami in November, the “Time Capsules” project features large scale “cute” sculptures that will be exhibited in major cities around the world. After New York, Hello Kitty will journey to Amsterdam in September. The multi-city project concludes at the 2020 Japanese Olympics when all the “Time Capsules” are brought together from around the world – filled with the objects deposited.

Santiago Calatrava

New York has also seen the arrival of red waves of steel up the central divide of Park Avenue. The work of Santiago Calatrava, the seven sculpture installation runs from 52nd to 55th Street. The sculptures “flow” along the Avenue in Calatrava’s signature style. The renowned Spanish neo-futuristic architect is a structural engineer, sculptor and painter, who has undertaken the design of stations, public projects and bridges throughout the world. For the past 12 years, Calatrava has been undertaking the design of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York (although the latter project has been fraught with delays and problems). As New York awaits sight of Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transportation Hub, his waves of steel on Park Avenue can be enjoyed by New Yorkers until November.