Grass-Covered Walls to Take Over Gansevoort Plaza

By Andrea Swalec on July 20, 2011 11:42am 

An artist's rendering of the scattering of grass-covered 3-foot-high walls of Karen Bausman's art installation, which will occupy the Meatpacking District's Gansevoort Plaza in April 2012.
An artist's rendering of the scattering of grass-covered 3-foot-high walls of Karen Bausman's art installation, which will occupy the Meatpacking District's Gansevoort Plaza in April 2012.
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Karen Bausman

MEATPACKING DISTRICT — A collection of 3-foot-high grass-covered walls will grow in Gansevoort Plaza this spring, the artist behind the collection revealed at a community board meeting Monday night.

Twenty-four structures made of structured turf will take up a 50-by-50-foot space in the cobblestone-covered open intersection of Gansevoort and Greenwich streets in the Meatpacking District, a block east of the High Line Park's southernmost entrance.

The installation, which will be called "The Wall Project," will be installed in the plaza from April 2 - April 30, 2012, artist and architect Karen Bausman said in a presentation to the Arts & Institutions Committee of Community Board 2.

"It challenges our notion of how we interact with the city," Bausman, who wore a 10-gallon hat to the meeting.

Bausman created the project after analyzing records from Manhattan's 1811 Planning Commission, which established the grid pattern of many city streets.

The Wall Project is "an homage to the Indian footpaths and village lanes from which the city's modern grid emerged," Bausman's website on the project explains.

The project is supported in part by the Department of Transportation's Urban Art program, its manager, Emily Colasacco, said Monday.

The Urban Arts program provides artists up to $5,000 to create temporary art installations "to foster more vibrant and attractive streets and offer the public new ways to experience New York City's streetscapes," the program's website says.

The program was created by DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, Colasacco said.

In response to a community board member's question about whether the installation would harm the plaza's cobblestone, Bausman said the grass-covered structures will be attached to the ground with water-filled trays.

"We won't be destroying the cobblestone at all," she said.

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