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Roses on Park Avenue

February 20, 2011

I meant to post this awhile ago- which you could probably tell from all the snow. Will Ryman, (a playwright turned sculptor) has made red and pink roses on green stems, (some reaching as tall as 25 feet), covered by ants, or aphids, or bumble bees. They are being displayed on the median of Park Avenue between 57 and 67th Streets through May 31st.

The artist had this to say about the display “The rose symbolizes romance, celebration, even death and commercialism. I wanted to show how the meaning can change. The scale is part of it as well. When you make them 25 feet tall and out of steel, you have people looking down [on the roses] from their apartments or up from the street and again, the meaning changes.”

I read that this was Ryman’s first outdoor installation. Ryman is the son of Realist painter Robert Ryman, and had proposed his idea via email to New York City Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. After a 20-minute meeting with the Commissioner in August 2009, the artist got the go-ahead two months later as long as he “took care of everything” – from funding to fruition.

Will Ryman Roses on Park AvenueWill Ryman Roses on Park Avenue

I appreciate the effort of these sculptures and the artist who made them, I just do not think that they were executed in the best way. I read that half of the works on view have already been sold. The proceeds from these sales made the installation a reality because the $800,000 in expenses were covered by the artist. Whatever isn’t sold by the time they come down in late May will probably be put on loan by the Paul Kasmin Gallery, said Ryman. Prices range from $200,000 to $400,000 depending on the size of the sculpture. Individual petals, which double as chairs, are going for between $25,000 and $30,000.

I know I am new to the game, but I just do not get it.


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