FLATIRON — A network of vibrantly colored pipes will soon snake through the center lawn of Madison Square Park as the greenspace’s next public art exhibit, “Pet Sounds” by California-based artist Charles Long.
Currently, the park is hosting a series of animation videos by Jacco Olivier. But when Long’s new exhibit goes on display May 2, undulating pipes will wind through the park, coalescing into amorphous blobs near common seating areas.
When passersby slide their hands across the surfaces of those blobs, the sculpture will emit a variety of sounds and vibrations.
“I wanted the work to be as visually affecting to park visitors as it is a physical and aural experience for them,” Long said in a statement.
"As one pets the blobs, a wide range of sounds are triggered and are coming from within the bodies of the forms.
"The sounds and the sculptural forms connect to the physicality of the viewer and, by extension, to those of others that are touching the work."
Debbie Landau, president of the conservancy, said she was pleased that visitors would have the opportunity to interact with the sculpture after the installation of "Pet Sounds," which shares its name with a Beach Boys released in 1966.
Representatives from the conservancy said they did not believe the album — which features bizarre sounds like barking dogs and bicycle bells — was an inspiration for the piece.
“The visual arts and music have an incredible ability to permeate the public psyche, and it is our hope that ‘Pet Sounds’ will give visitors an experience that will stay with them for a long time to come,” Landau said in a statement.
Long's work has been part of more than 30 solo exhibitions around the world. He is chair of the art department at the University of California, Riverside, and his pieces have been shown in the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among other galleries.
“Pet Sounds” will be on display through Sept. 9.