New Sculpture Set to Arrive in Tompkins Square Park

By Patrick Hedlund on July 15, 2011 1:42pm 

Artist Scott Taylor's
Artist Scott Taylor's "WALK MAN" sculpture will spend four months in Tompkins Square Park.
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Scott Taylor

EAST VILLAGE — Tompkins Square Park is about to get a new squatter.

A temporary sculpture is scheduled to land in the park later this month, courtesy of a local artist who recently designed a piano for a citywide pop-up exhibition.

“WALK MAN,” by Lower East Side artist Scott Taylor, is a seven-foot-tall sculpture representing the walking man, a version of which is seen at street crossings around the world.

The piece is slated to stand just off the park’s East Ninth Street traverse, in between the public bathrooms and a permanent ping-pong table that was recently installed in the green space, Taylor and Parks Department officials said Thursday.

“To me, ‘WALK MAN’ is the most famous guy in the world,” the artist said of his steel sculpture, set to arrive on July 29 for a four-month run. “It’s a universal language. It’s clean, it’s uncluttered.”

Taylor did a similar piece for McCarren Park in Brooklyn last year, using the street-sign symbol for cycling, and also sold a sculpture to a private collector using the universal image for swimming.

“I think people are drawn to these things because they’re international symbols,” Taylor said, adding that he first approached the Parks Department about doing a public-art piece three years ago.

The piano he designed for this summer’s pop-up exhibition got the most bids out of the 10 put up for auction online, including ones by fashion designers Diane von Furstenberg and Isaac Mizrahi.

Taylor’s work was also featured on the cover of a recent issue of New York magazine, after he and his wife decorated their Chelsea rental with strips of black tape and paint drizzles.

He hopes to create up to a dozen more of his sculptures, and said he isn’t worried about vandalism, even after his McCarren Park piece was decapitated within days of being installed.

“Will it get graffitied? Probably,” Taylor acknowledged, saying he’d simply paint over any scrawls that appear. “My graffiti is my white paint.”

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