New York City Public Art: Anish Kapoor – Sugarlift

New York City Public Art: Anish Kapoor

Posted by Julia Moody /

 New York City is known for its active and booming art scene, and the public art here is no exception.  Some of the most successful artists in the world are commissioned to do works in public spaces.  From Claes Oldenburg to Jeff Koons, the city has displayed works from the likes of today's biggest art world names.  This week marks the first in a series of posts about ongoing public art exhibited in NYC, and we're kicking it off by diving deeper (get it?) into the recently installed work of Anish KapoorDescension

Anish Kapoor, Public art fund, Sugarlift, 2017

Turner Prize winner Anish Kapoor is a British sculptor born in Bombay in 1954.  His concave mirrored sculptures can be found adorning booths at every international art fair and his exclusive rights to use the worlds "blackest black" pigment, Vantablack, have made him a household name in the contemporary canon.  

Kapoor's recent project, Descension, was created in collaboration with the international non-profit Public Art Fund, which provides financial support to allow artists to create massive projects for public consumption.  They are known for working with some of the most renowned artists in the world and for producing spectacular and exciting installations.  The work, located at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, is a massive, ever-spinning whirlpool that spans 28 feet in diameter.  This isn't the first time the artist has worked with Public Art Fund.  In 2006, Kapoor created a 35-foot diameter concave mirror angled upward, aptly titled Sky Mirror.

Anish Kapoor, Public art fund, Sugarlift, 2017

Descension is an unmistakeable manifestation of the artist's infatuation with the void.  The piece is surrounded by a railing, allowing viewers to look into the ever spiraling depths of the gigantic pool and ultimately forcing them to question their perceptions of space.

In the press release for the piece's unveiling, Director and Chief Curator of Public Art Fund, Nicholas Baum, states, "Anish Kapoor reminds us of the contingency of appearances: our senses inevitably deceive us. With Descension, he creates an active object that resonates with changes in our understanding and experience of the world.  In this way, Kapoor is interested in what we don’t know rather than in what we do, understanding that the limit of perception is also the threshold of human imagination.

Anish Kapoor, Public art fund, Sugarlift, 2017

This piece was first imagined on a smaller scale for an interior space at Kochi-Muziris biennale in India in 2014 and again in 2015 outdoors for a solo exhibition in Versailles, this is the first time the work has travelled to North America. The installation of Descension is part of a series for the 40th Anniversary season of the Public Art Fund and is open through September 10th.  This is a mind bending installation and engaging work of art that you don't want to miss, so be sure to take the trip to DUMBO while it is on display!

Anish Kapoor, Public art fund, Sugarlift, 2017

Check out artist Lizzie Gill's Sugarlift Instagram Takeover featuring Descension below:


Photography by James Ewing for Public Art Fund.


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