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Herb Alpert's 'Spirit Totems' Rise Outside Lincoln Center

By Emily Frost | January 23, 2014 6:18pm
 The three totems will be on display through the end of April. 
Herb Alpert's Spirit Totem Sculptures Arrive in Lincoln Square
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UPPER WEST SIDE — Jazz legend Herb Alpert braved the frigid weather Thursday afternoon to stop by Lincoln Square's Dante Park and see his three sculptures, large abstract totem poles, on their first day out in public.

"It's cold as hell," Alpert murmured, far from his Malibu, Calif. home.

His "Spirit Totems," three large bronze sculptures, the tallest standing 17 feet high, are on display in the park at West 64th Street and Broadway in front of Lincoln Center, and were installed with the help of the Parks Department late Wednesday night.

Alpert spent three months crafting each abstract sculpture, from the clay models to the bronze finished product, and he said they're inspired by the totem poles of indigenous tribes from the Pacific Northwest. 

The totems, called "Gratitude," "Grace" and "Freedom," are narrow and spaced so that people can walk around them. They're the product of improvisations, not unlike Alpert's improvisations with music.

"I think some people are going to love it and some are going to hate it," he said of the installation, adding that he was pleased with the way they'd turned out. 

The totems lend themselves to interpretation, with different people seeing different shapes and forms in their angles and swoops, he said.

"The beautiful part is you get to see what you want to see," he said. 

The sculptures will be in Dante Park until April 25. More totems are on view at the ACA Galleries in Chelsea through March 1.