charles ray’s new public sculpture in manhattan imagines adam and eve in their old age

new public artworks by Charles Ray & Christopher Wool in NYC

On June 5, 2023, two new works of public art by world-renowned artists Charles Ray and Christopher Wool emerged within the city of New York. Set at Manhattan West, Brookfield Properties’ eight-acre mixed-use development, the new pieces feature Charles Ray’s ‘Adam and Eve,’ one of the artist’s very few public sculptures ever realized. The artwork showcases two figures of the original sinners machined out of solid blocks of stainless steel, blending harmoniously with the surrounding skyscrapers and bustling urban environment. Accompanying Ray’s work is Christopher Wool’s ‘Crosstown Traffic,’ his largest piece to date and first-ever mosaic.

charles ray's new public sculpture in manhattan imagines adam and eve in their old age
Charles Ray Adam and Eve, 2023, Stainless steel 1031/2 x 831/2 x 291/2 inches | images by Timothy Schenck

adam and eve by Charles Ray

The Adam and Eve sculpture by Charles Ray (find more here) decorates the entrance of One and Two Manhattan West, the impressive skyscrapers belonging to Brookfield Properties (find more here). Crafted meticulously from solid stainless steel blocks, the work imagines the titular original sinners in their old age, each reaching a height of nearly ten feet. This reflective artwork not only activates the surrounding space but is also activated by it. The chosen location speaks volumes about the vibrant energy of the newly developed Manhattan West neighborhood, strategically positioned near iconic landmarks such as Moynihan Train Hall, Penn Station, Madison Square Garden, and The High Line.

‘There is a harmonious relationship between Manhattan West’s new towers made of steel and glass,’ writes Ray. ‘The towers soar to the heavens, reflecting the city and the clouds above. On the corner, a figurative sculpture consisting of two figures, a man and a woman, husband and wife, Adam and Eve, sit and stand in the spatial reality of the civic world that defines them. Eve sits at the viewer’s eye level and the liveliness of the street, with its light and its noise, reflects from her surface. Adam, standing, teeters as he looks towards 9th Avenue. The figures stir space as if space was cake batter in a bowl. Are they Adam and Eve, who lived into a very old age? Or are they two old people, a couple like you and me?’

charles ray's new public sculpture in manhattan imagines adam and eve in their old age
the two figures are crafted from solid stainless steel blocks

Crosstown Traffic by Christopher Wool

Crosstown Traffic, a new 28 x 39-foot mosaic by Christopher Wool (find more here) is based on a recent small-scale painting on paper, which Wool, with the assistance of artisans in a studio outside of Venice, Italy, translated into a monumental expanse of stone and glass. The mosaic takes its name from the iconic Jimi Hendrix song, paying homage to the energy and movement it evokes. The work is installed in the lobby of Two Manhattan West. Notably, this is the first time Wool has ventured into creating a mosaic of this scale, showcasing his ongoing exploration of images and their transformation across different artistic mediums.

charles ray's new public sculpture in manhattan imagines adam and eve in their old age
the work imagines the titular original sinners in their old age

charles ray's new public sculpture in manhattan imagines adam and eve in their old age
‘Eve sits at the viewer’s eye level and the liveliness of the street, with its light and its noise, reflects from her surface’

charles ray's new public sculpture in manhattan imagines adam and eve in their old age
‘Adam, standing, teeters as he looks towards 9th Avenue’

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