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“Melt to Earth”

“It could be an orgy, a dance, a play – I’m going to leave it up to the viewer.”  That is how artist Aaron Curry described his public art project “Melt to Earth” to the Wall Street Journal.  “Melt to Earth” was unveiled at Lincoln Center October 3rd, and will continue to delight and confuse patrons until January 6th.

“Melt to Earth” is a collection of fourteen vibrantly-colored sculptures that comprise a site-specific art installation currently occupying Lincoln Center.  After he was commissioned to create a work for Lincoln Center two years ago, Curry actually downloaded images of Josie Robertson Plaza and the Revson Fountain on his iPad.  He doodled over these photographs with a stylus to understand how his sculptures would interact with the space around them.


melt to earth 1


Each sculpture is made of thin sheets of aluminum and range in height from four inches to nineteen feet tall.  The sculptures have cut out holes in them, creating negative space, through which Curry hopes patrons will stick their heads, interacting with the work.  Despite Curry’s meticulous planning, the placement of the sculptures is not as the artist originally imagined.  The original sculpture placement covered up some donors’ names on the sidewalk, which was not copacetic with Lincoln Center’s plans for the plaza.  Curry made the necessary adjustments to his work.  In the end, both he artist and Lincoln Center were delighted with “Melt to Earth.”


The patrons on the other hand, range from ecstatic to confused.  Lincoln Center is often seen as this bastion of classical art.  It is home of the Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, and New York City Ballet.  Most people when attending a performance do not expect a brightly colored contemporary art project urging them to interact and be “activated” in the plaza. “Melt to Earth” has been welcomed and embraced by most, but some patrons and passersby  simply look at it and say, “I’m confused.”  It would be fabulous if you went to Lincoln Center yourself and made up your mind about whether or not “Melt to Earth” enhances the plaza.  If you do, let us know your thoughts here on this blog!


No matter what you particular opinion of the work, it is temporary.  In fact, its very name reflects its temporary nature.  Aaron Curry said he got the title “Melt to Earth” because he likes “the idea that no matter how strong something is, it does melt to Earth.  Buildings crumble.  No matter how fabricated these are, they’ll eventually disintegrate.”  One thing is for certain; “Melt to Earth” has brought art to a public space, where people who might not frequent galleries or museums will see and discuss the work.  This makes “Melt to Earth” quintessential New York.  We might pay high rents and wait in longer lines for our coffee, but New Yorkers have the wonderful opportunity to constantly be surrounded by art, whether it be street art, street performers, or public art projects.  This is what makes New York City so special.


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