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12,000-Pound Sculpture Installed in Hudson Square Near Holland Tunnel

By Danielle Tcholakian | December 22, 2016 8:32am
 A sculpture by artist Isamu Noguchi was installed in Hudson Square near the Holland Tunnel this week.
A sculpture by artist Isamu Noguchi was installed in Hudson Square near the Holland Tunnel this week.
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Hudson Square Connection

HUDSON SQUARE — A 12,000-pound sculpture by artist Isamu Noguchi was installed in Hudson Square near the Holland Tunnel this week.

The installation, in a small park called Freeman Plaza East, was coordinated by the local business improvement district, Hudson Square Connection, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which manages the tunnel. 

The red abstract sculpture, titled "Octetra," is more than 7 feet tall, made from painted concrete and comes from the collection of New York real estate mogul Edward Minskoff and his wife, Julie.

The Japanese-American sculptor created the work in 1968, crafting five tetrahedrons — four-sided triangular pyramids — with truncated corners that convert the sides into hexagons, with spherical openings in each piece's center. Each of the five individual pieces weighs 2,400 pounds.

It was first exhibited near the Spoleto Cathedral in Italy, and has previously been shown at the Pace Gallery.

Approximately a dozen casts of the work have been made in the intervening decades, most of which are in Japan.

The American-born artist spent his childhood in Japan and his teen years in Indiana, and enrolled as a pre-med student at Columbia University for college, according to background provided by the BID.

While at Columbia, he took sculpture classes in the evening on the Lower East Side, and later worked under Constantin Brancusi in Paris.

He spent much of the 1930s in New York City, and completed his first public artwork here in 1938: a large-scale sculpture symbolizing freedom of the press, installed in the Associated Press building at Rockefeller Center.

He opened his own studio at 33 MacDougal Alley in Greenwich Village in 1942, and his own museum a little over four decades later in Long Island City.

The Noguchi Museum still stands in Queens today, and features a sculpture garden. He died in New York City in 1988.

The BID said there is currently no end date to the sculpture installation at Freeman Plaza East.