The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Artist to Asia Society: Tear Down This Wall

By Amy Zimmer | December 20, 2011 2:01pm

MANHATTAN — The artist Sarah Sze has enough clout at the Asia Society that she can move mountains … or at least walls.

For her show “Infinite Line,” at the museum through March 25, 2012, Sze has convinced the museum to remove a wall that has blocked off its giant second-floor Park Avenue window for nearly a decade.

Sze, who's known for her intricate installations using plastic bottle caps, sheets of paper, strings, tape measures, cotton swabs, scissors and other everyday objects, had her heart set on incorporating the window into her work.

"She really has an ability to feel the uniqueness of architectural space," Asia Society associate curator Miwako Tezuka said.

"During the day it's filled with light and at night it’s a different atmosphere," Tezuka said. "[It] becomes a really kind of contemplative space. There are reflections on the pane [from a light in the gallery] that looks almost like a full moon."

Sze, a MacArthur “genius," did her first site-specific installation for Asia Society in 2001 for the building’s re-opening after a big renovation. During that construction project, the museum at 725 Park Ave. erected a wall in front of a large window to prevent natural light from seeping into gallery space and potentially damaging the art inside.

For her return to the museum, Sze created a large-scale exhibit of her drawings and sculptures that examines the relationship between the two. 

She also created an image out of rocks and drawings that lays on the floor in front of the window, as well as a decal on the window itself. There are also rocks atop of a patio that can be seen through the window, putting a premium on the ability to blur the line between the outdoor and indoor space.

As such, the Asia Society agreed to tear down the window-blocking wall. It will be replaced after Sze's show, officials said.

"It relates to her interest in Japanese rock gardens,” Tezuka said of Sze, a Chinese-American artist whose work echoes influences of different types of Asian art.

"You see what’s beyond that patch of rocks on the ledge," Tezuka said. "It’s an installation created in a gallery space, but it almost continues on for infinite space outside. … It's a busy world, but somehow there is a moment that stops you and makes you see the city in a different way."

In an interview with curators, Sze discusses how she expects people will look through the image on the window and see cabs and movement outside and then be redirected to the ground of the gallery floor

"You're constantly being oriented and disoriented, focusing in and focusing out, seeing images come together and seeing them fall apart," Sze said.