Translucent Sculptures to Fill Fashion District Plazas

By Jill Colvin on July 8, 2011 6:01pm 

A photo of one of the sculptures shot during a test run last month.
A photo of one of the sculptures shot during a test run last month.
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Facebook.com/The Fashion Center

MIDTOWN — Twenty-nine translucent sculptures will be mounted along Broadway's plazas in the Fashion District's latest creative venture.

"The Fashion District Pilings Project," by Brooklyn artist Joan Benefiel, will debut next Thursday, July 14, along the Broadway corridor, from West 36th Street to West 41st Street.

"The fiery glowing pieces are installed on tall wooden pilings, mingling just above the heads of the thousands of people who pound the pavement of the neighborhood each day," said the Fashion Center Business Improvement District in a description of the project, which they were set to formally announce Friday.

The sculptures will change color depending on the available light around them, transforming from orange to red to yellow through the day, said BID deputy director Jerry Scupp.

"I think it's going to help the corridor have a nicer, more pleasant image," he said.

Each of the figures, which appear in striking, dramatic poses, is meant "to provoke and encourage narrative interpretation."

"The figures simultaneously convey a sense of precariousness and joy. And so it is to live our lives — something that I think everyone can relate to, especially New Yorkers," Benefiel said in a statement.

The efforts follow last year's successful "Sidewalk Catwalk" project, which lined the Broadway plazas with mannequins dressed in fashions from superstar designers, including Diane Von Furstenberg and Michael Kors.

"This is a little bit more subtle," Scupp of the latest exhibit. "It's really a beautiful, beautiful thing."

The sculptures will be on display through Aug. 31.

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