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Take a Seat in an Opulent Ballroom in New Art Installation at Central Park

By Shaye Weaver | December 21, 2016 8:38am
 One of the 26 sculpted pieces in Liz Glynn's
One of the 26 sculpted pieces in Liz Glynn's "Open House" that will be on display at the southeast entrance of Central Park from March 1 to Sept. 24.
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Public Art Fund/Liz Glynn/Liz Ligon

CENTRAL PARK — Opulently sculpted concrete furniture will grace the entrance to Central Park next spring, bringing the grandeur of Gilded Age ballrooms into the open where the public can view it.

The Public Art Fund will install 26 sculptures of fancy sofas, chairs, footstools and arches starting in March as part of its newest exhibition called "Open House," by Los Angeles-based artist Liz Glynn.

The installation will last from March 1 to Sept. 24, 2017 and will be accessible to everyone who passes by the Doris C. Freedman Plaza at the southeast entrance to Central Park, at the corner of 60th Street and Fifth Avenue.

“By reinterpreting an artifact of a period marked by incredible financial growth — and disparity — Glynn connects our present moment to this historical era and makes it accessible to the public," said Daniel Palmer, the Public Art Fund's associate curator, in a statement. "Her installation poses important questions about how we create displays of wealth and the ways in which distinctions between public and private space continue to reinforce and reflect class differences.”

The furniture is based on 18th century French furnishings that were inside a ballroom that used to exist inside the brownstone of William C. Whitney, a wealthy politician, at 871 Fifth Ave., according to the Public Art Fund.

Ballrooms in the Gilded Age were often seen as a way for upper-class New Yorkers to show power and prestige, and as a place for socializing and extravagant balls.

The Whitney ballroom had antique and modern reproductions of chairs and sofas once featured in the grand halls of French royalty including Louis XIV, according to the Public Art Fund.

(photo credit: Liz Ligon)

Glynn, who specializes in art bringing together historical tropes and modern spaces, researched at several historic archives in New York City to correctly sculpt the opulent furniture for the installation, which she calls a "ruin."

The installation will last through Sept. 24. Glynn will give a talk about the exhibition on Feb. 27 at The New School.