For a brief and chaotic moment, many people were convinced that yet another person was about to take a high dive into eternity from the Empire State Building. They spotted the rather uniquely placed figure on the 24th Floor ledge of the building and, quickly determining that he wasn’t a sightseer, called the police. Rushing to the 24th Floor, the cops were just about to reach out to this suicidal person when they discovered that it was neither suicidal nor a person…it was a solid cast iron statue!

The life-sized figure was bolted to the iconic building by the boneheaded organizers [in particular, resident artist Anthony Gormley] of the “Event Horizonart installation, which has infested the city with realistic-looking metal men. They’re placed on dangerous roofs and ledges around Madison Square Park and other Midtown locales — but none in a place so linked to death plunges.

Needless to say, many people didn’t appreciate this new low in high art. While Anthony Malkin, who heads the Empire State Building’s management group, said that he had received “over a dozen requests from meaningful people in the arts” to agree to the art installation and had checked with the NYPD and got their OK, everyone (the police, the public, and the ESB staff) appeared to be equally fooled by the Metal Man.

Forty people (six in the last 10 years) have jumped from the Empire State Building since it opened in 1931. The Metal Man was installed on the ESB in late March (in place on March 30 when a Yale grad student leapt from the observation deck but seems to be attracting attention only now). In fact, Mayor Bloomberg himself gave his full support to the project and doesn’t plan to intervene.

(originally posted: 04/17/10)

Read more: New York Post


2 comments on “NEW LOW IN HIGH ART

  1. Bill Chance says:

    I am a fan of Gormley’s work – it’s a shame he/they didn’t think a little bit more about this location. When I was a young child, I remember seeing the iconic photograph from Life Magazine of the woman that jumped from the Empire State Building and landed on a car (looked it up, her name was Evelyn McHale) – it has haunted me to this day.

    • GrayFoxDown says:

      I was just one more bewildered passerby fooled by the work; it looked very real from street level. But, if anything, it was a break in the humdrum pace of NYC’s frenzied traffic.

      I’m very familiar with Evelyn McHale (I also wrote a post about her a while back). When I was a child, I too was haunted by that image.

      Thanks for the feedback, Bill.

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