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Chuck Ginnever's MEDUSA Steel Sculpture Installed in Riverside Park

Related: Medusa, Chuckk Ginnever, Riverside Park, NYC Parks

NYC Parks has announced the installation of Medusa (1986), a monumental steel sculpture by Chuck Ginnever, in Riverside Park. The exhibition is on view through November 2014 and accompanies his sculpture High Rise, currently on view on an adjacent lawn at 145th Street, just north of Riverbank State Park. Ginnever's abstract corten steel sculptures overlook the Hudson River and their formal qualities are echoed in the steel icebreakers just off shore.

Chuck Ginnever is best known for his monumental, open-form sculptures for the outdoors. He created the first of these in 1958 with abandoned railroad ties and structural steel. The result was a deconstruction of existing sculptural spatial theories that he continues to examine. A contemporary of Mark di Suvero and Tom Doyle, who also exhibit massive steel pieces, Ginnever creates sculptures that are heavily reliant on the "relationship between illusion and reality." His artworks have a trick of the eye and appear to warp as one looks at the sculptures from different angles. In fact, early in his career the public would "usually think that two or more photographs of the same work were each of a different sculpture," Ginnever noted.

This exhibition marks Ginnever's return to Parks, having exhibited Midas and Fog in Carl Schurz Park in 1967 as part of the groundbreaking exhibition Sculpture in Environment, one of New York City's first public art installations. He became a committed contributor to the budding public art scene in the City, exhibiting in Battery Park, Washington Square Park, and Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in the 1970s. Ginnever conceived of Medusa one late afternoon in 1974 while he was visiting Stonehenge on a worldwide trip to ancient sites. He noticed that The Shadows cast by the monoliths formed parallelograms, which he photographed and upon his return home, he made a series of sectional sculptures based on these shadows. Medusa is part of this series.

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by Barry Kostrinsky