There's No Place Like NoMad

September 24, 2018

Sculptor Arlene Shechet to Unveil “Full Steam Ahead” in Madison Square Park on Sept. 25

On September 25, 2018 Madison Square Park will officially launch its thirty-seventh public art exhibition—an original installation by New York artist and sculptor Arlene Shechet entitled Full Steam Ahead. The installation will be unveiled with a special opening reception on the 25th from 5:30-7:30 pm.

The new exhibit, Shechet’s first public art installation, will feature sculptures of porcelain, steel, cast iron and wood set in and around the emptied circular reflecting pool on the north side of the park. Complete with seating for conversation, the display will encourage visitors to interact and linger among the sculptures both in and around the pool. The park will also host an ongoing series of talks, performances and walking meditations while the exhibit remains on display, in order that visitors can learn more about the sculptures through reflection and discussion.

In a statement describing the exhibit, the artist explains her intent. “My hope has been to reimagine the hardscape of the Park with delight and surprise,” she says. “New Yorkers rely on the sidewalks, the pavement, and the street as the core of their urban lives. Full Steam Ahead becomes a lively and human amphitheater, softening the hardscape through sculptural intervention evocative of 18th-century garden landscapes.”

Full Steam Ahead derives its name and inspiration from the adjacent bronze monument and statue of David Glasgow Farragut, the Civil War naval admiral credited with the famous quote, “Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead!” For the duration of the exhibit, a hand-carved wood sculpture of a female figure will sit on the steps of the monument—a statement by the artist critiquing the male-centric bias in memorializing historic figures.

Arlene Shechet (born 1951) is an award-winning American sculptor living in New York City and the Hudson Valley. Her work has been featured on PBS and acclaimed by publications like The New York Times and The New Yorker. Her sculptures have been and continue to be displayed in museums across the country, including the Whitney Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., among others.

Full Steam Ahead will be open to the public in Madison Square Park from September 25, 2018 through April 28, 2019. We encourage visitors, those working in the neighborhood, and residents to discuss, be inspired and enjoy the new installation.