Glacial exhibit emerges in the Garment District

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Friday, March 1, 2024

Glacial exhibit emerges in the Garment District
“Cracked Ice” invites viewers to reflect on climate change.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Garment District Alliance and The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts recently held a special ceremony in the heart of Midtown Manhattan in the Garment District to unveil Cracked Ice by renowned artist Del Geist – a series of three towering structures made of stone and stainless steel titled Laurentide, Muir and Champlain that represent erratic boulders being held by immense ice-age glaciers.

Located on the Broadway plazas in the Garment District between 39th and 40th Streets, the free installation invites viewers to reflect on the dynamic forces of nature and profound impact of climate change and will be available to the public through March 2024.

“We are so pleased to partner with The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts to unveil Cracked Ice to the Garment District community,” said Barbara A. Blair, president of the Garment District Alliance. “Del Geist’s compelling works invite viewers to confront the realities of climate change, and we encourage all to stop by and take in these powerful additions to our neighborhood this winter.”

Standing between 10 and 18-feet-tall respectively, each structure symbolizes a massive boulder suspended by the remnants of an ancient glacier, representing the gradual melting of ice over time. The unique structures serve as a metaphorical tribute to New York’s ever-changing history, both physically and symbolically, and offer compelling commentary on the impact of global warming on the planet. Del Geist worked with Bill Lyle of Lyle Welding, to fabricate the sculptures.

The opening ceremony celebrating Cracked Ice featured remarks from Barbara A. Blair, president of the Garment District Alliance, and Alexandra Unthank, program director at the EFA, followed by a special discussion with Del Geist about his work.

With more than 40 years of experience, Del Geist draws inspiration from natural sciences to craft site-specific artwork worldwide. Through his works, he seeks to capture the true spirit of the area by drawing on the unique qualities inherent to each place, fostering viewers’ sensory experiences. Del Geist’s environmental artwork has been exhibited in England, Germany, Spain, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, South Korea, Brazil, Papua New Guinea, Canada, and throughout the United States.

“We are so excited to see this project come to fruition in our home in the Garment District,” said Alexandra Unthank, director of EFA Studios. “We deeply appreciate the support of the GDA in ensuring that Del’s influential work can have the impact it commands. This project is emblematic of the immense cultural benefits for the city that are born from collaboration across multiple organizations.”

The EFA is a public charity that seeks to facilitate connections between artists, creative spaces, and the public by providing artists across all disciplines with space, tools and a cooperative forum for the development of their individual practice. The EFA and GDA have a long history of collaboration, with the EFA’s Open Studios event being a part of GDA’s district-wide arts festival from 2004 - 2016. In more recent years, GDA has served as a sponsor of EFA’s Open Studios program and has featured over a dozen of EFA’s studio member artists, including Del Geist, on the Broadway plazas and in its window spaces.

Cracked Ice is part of Garment District Art on the Plazas, a year-round public art program made possible through the NYC Department of Transportation’s Art Program (NYC DOT Art). The Garment District Alliance and NYC DOT Artwork closely to coordinate and install exhibits and individual pieces, which enhance public plazas and make them even more welcoming to New Yorkers and visitors.

“Public art makes our streets livelier and helps honor the history of communities while building neighborhood connectivity into the future,” said Ydanis Rodriguez, NYC DOT Commissioner. “I thank the artist Del Geist and the Garment District Alliance for their partnership in bringing these thought provoking works to our plazas.”

Previous installations have included Living Lantern by NEON, an oversized illuminated lantern symbolizing hope on Broadway in January 2023; Passage by Serge Maheu, an interactive art installation comprised of 20 circles of light that formed a pedestrian tunnel on Broadway in 2022; and Prismatica by RAW Design in collaboration with ATOMIC3, a series of multi-colored prisms that filled the plazas with reflections and musical sounds in 2021. Sculptural installations have included works by renowned artists such as Chakaia Booker, Xin Song, Del Geist and Patricia Leighton, Kang Muxiang, Seward Johnson, Hacer, and Hung Yi.

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