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14-Foot Steel Sculpture Rises in Union Square to Celebrate Brooklyn Artist

By Noah Hurowitz | October 26, 2015 4:29pm
"My Circle," by Beverly Pepper, will stand in the Union Square Triangle through May 2016.
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DNAinfo/Heather Holland

UNION SQUARE — A massive steel sculpture of a nearly-complete circle will tower over the pedestrian plaza on the East side of Union Square until next May.

The 14-foot-by-nine-foot structure, dubbed “My Circle,” was installed on Oct. 22 on the triangle at Union Square East near 14th Street in celebration of Brooklyn artist Beverly Pepper's 93rd Birthday, according to the Marlborough Gallery.

The sculpture was created from weather-resistant steel designed to develop a rusty-looking, weathered appearance, which Pepper said represents the idea of elapsed time. Its convex and concave forms are used to give the viewer an experience of "the connectedness of existence," according to the gallery.

“Seeing, touching, and the physical sensory engagement is the way into my sculpture,” Pepper said in a statement.” [M]y intention is that the meaning of my work rests in experiencing it, similar to the performing arts where listening and seeing the moments of a performance where meaning is revealed through experience.”

Pepper was born in Brooklyn in 1922 and trained as a painter, but a 1960 trip to the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia inspired her to begin working as a sculptor.

A recipient of the International Sculpture Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Pepper has displayed her work in museums and galleries near and far, including the Brooklyn Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and most recently, Museo dell’Ara Pacis, in Rome.

The installation in Union Square is a result of the combined efforts of the Union Square Partnership, the Parks Department, and Marlborough Gallery.