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Teeny-Tiny Art Exhibit Debuts on the High Line

By Mathew Katz | April 19, 2012 7:52am
Carson, a 22-inch sculpture by Tomoaki Suzuki
Carson, a 22-inch sculpture by Tomoaki Suzuki
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Friends of the High Line

CHELSEA — A teeny-tiny art exhibition has littered the High Line with miniature sculptures.

Lilliput, named after the island of little people from "Gulliver's Travels," is a collection of work by six artists scattered around the High Line — some in plain sight, others hidden in the bushes.

The goal, organizers said, is to offer a counterbalance to the often monumental scale of sculptures in the city and create a whimsical world not unlike that of Jonathan Swift's 1726 novel.

"Ain't that a riot," exclaimed Jessica Gnomsworth, 46, after she saw Carson, a 22-inch-tall sculpture of a punk-rock looking man with a black leather jacket and tight jeans by Japanese artist Tomoaki Suzuki. The small statue stands near the park's West 14th Street entrance.

"He looks like a little Sid Vicious," added Gnomsworth, who was visiting the park from Wisconsin.

Lilliput is the first project in the High Line Commissions series for the spring, and will run until April 14, 2013.

Further up the park's path sits The Seduction, a pair of tiny bronze monkeys stuck in a perpetual embrace. The sculpture by UK-based artist Francis Upritchard rests on a section of wooden seats near the West 23rd Street entrance to the park.

"It's a little creepy, actually," said Sarah Williams, of Brooklyn, after taking a good look at the sculpture.

While tiny compared to some of the statues around the city, Old Singer by Los Angeles-based Alessandro Pessoli, a 9-foot-tall sculpture among the trees of the southern end of the park, is the largest of the exhibit.

Brazillian artist Erika Verzutti brought her own unique take on a family of dinosaurs to the northern end of the park. The oddly shaped collection of dinos are hidden behind bushes and trees between West 25th and West 27th streets.

"Gulliver's Travels" isn't the only classic book that the exhibition will evoke: Oliver Laric's sculpture of Sun Tzu casts the "Art of War" author as a two-faced idol, representing both Eastern and Western cultures.

Perhaps the oddest of the bunch is New York-based Allyson Viera's Construction (Rampart), a bronze cast of a paper-cup pyramid. According to Friends of the High Line, the sculpture is supposed to collect dirt, plant debris and water over the course of the next year,

On Wednesday, Carson certainly got the most attention from park-goers, with tourists stopping to pose with the tiny man and even several kids hoping to pick it up and play with him.

"Our art's much bigger in Europe," said Raul Gomez, 29, who was visiting from Barcelona. "But small can be good too, you know?"