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Airplane Lands in Central Park Plaza as Latest Public Art Installation

By Amy Zimmer | June 19, 2012 5:48pm
A close-up of the sculpture against the New York skyline.
A close-up of the sculpture against the New York skyline.
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DNAinfo/Jesse Lent

UPPER EAST SIDE — A six-seat passenger plane that slowly spins 360 degrees while supported at its wing tips by vertical steel posts is the latest public art work to greet visitors at the southeast corner of Central Park.

The Italian-born, Alaska-based artist Paola Pivi has brought the twin engine Piper Seneca to the center of Doris C. Freedman Plaza, at East 60th and Fifth Avenue, courtesy of the Public Art Fund.

The art exhibit, called "How I Roll," features a rotating plane on the bustling sidewalk. It's the latest in Pivi’s series on works that remove highly engineered objects from their expected contexts and turn them into eye-catching art. Other items in the series have been a tractor-trailer turned on its side and an upside-down helicopter.

Nicholas Baume, director and chief curator of the fund, said the work reminded him of a famous anecdote about the birth of modernism.

"Constantin Brancusi, Marcel Duchamp and Fernand Léger are said to have visited the 1912 Paris Air Show together," he recounted. "Upon observing a propeller, Brancusi exclaimed, 'Now that is what I call sculpture!' Paola’s work suggests that this love affair between modernist artists and industrial design is still able to generate remarkable visual poetry."

The installation, which officially runs from Wednesday through Aug. 26, is Pivi’s first public art project in the United States.

Pivi’s works have included, "One cup of cappuccino then I go," where a leopard sauntered through a gallery filled with cups of cappuccino as visitors looked on and "Untitled (Zebras)," which depicts two zebras photographed on a snowy mountaintop.