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Giant Stone Sculptures Unveiled Outside 30 Rock

By Trevor Kapp | April 22, 2013 2:33pm

MIDTOWN — Rocks are taking over Rock Center.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and artist Ugo Rondinone unveiled a new exhibit in Rockefeller Center on Monday featuring nine, 16-to-20-feet, human-shaped stone figures.

The exhibit, Human Nature, will be free to the public and is on view from April 23 to June 8.

“It’s really amazing,” Bloomberg marveled. “It’s just rock, except it’s not just rock. It’s what he’s done with the rock, how he’s picked the pieces and sculptured them and how he’s put them together and the placement, where they are. It’s exactly the sort of thing you want.”

Rondinone produced Human Nature by quarrying bluestone slabs to make the figures, but left their surfaces untouched. The stones were later rough-cut into blocks and stacked on top of each other.

Rondinone, whose past work includes paintings, large-scale landscape drawings and figurative sculptures, said that as a New Yorker of 15 years, he was humbled to have his work featured in the heart of the city.  

“Rockefeller Center is one of the most powerful and magical places on Earth and a symbol for everything America stands for: big vision and hard work,” he said. “I hope people in New York enjoy the celebration between human and nature.”

The exhibit was organized by the Public Art Fund and Tishman Speyer, and is sponsored by Nespresso.

Bloomberg predicted the exhibit will be thought-provoking to both New Yorkers and tourists.

“People are going to say, ‘Look at the one, I like that, I don’t like that, what does this one mean?’" he said. “That’s exactly what art should do — it should get you thinking and exercising your brain.”