Public art installations are a dime a dozen in New York. Even so, one comes along every once in awhile that the city’s culture critics can’t stop talking about. The work generating the most buzz this summer is, without a doubt, Anish Kapoor’s Descension in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Here’s a look at what makes this installation so compelling, as well as the details you need to plan your visit.
Indian-born British sculptor Anish Kapoor is one of the most accomplished contemporary visual artists in the world. His iconic Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park (better known as “the Bean”) is recognizable to most Americans, even if they can’t name the artist. Other prominent works by Kapoor grace the plazas and streets of Milan, London, Seville, and other great cities. Kapoor has represented Britain at the Venice Biennale, and recently won a bid to construct a granite monument commemorating British lives lost in New York on 9/11. That permanent installation will be erected in Lower Manhattan’s Hanover Square.
Descension, described as a “never-ending” black whirlpool, is a 26-foot-diameter pool of water spiraling into a center void. The work’s message is open for interpretation, but Kapoor was inspired by recent geopolitical events. Descension first appeared in India’s Kerala state, where it was installed indoors for the Kochi-Muziris biennale. Later that year, Descension was reimagined as a large-scale outdoor sculpture for a Kapoor exhibition at the Palace of Versailles outside Paris.
Descension was brought to New York by Anish Kapoor and the Public Art Fund. Its installation coincides with the fund’s 40th year of making remarkable public art accessible to the city’s public. The work’s May 3rd unveiling also marked the launch of the NYCxDesign Festival, New York’s official citywide design celebration. It is slated to be on display until September 10th. If you go, try to view the water vortex both up-close and from an elevated vantage point behind the work. The latter juxtaposes the work against the nearby East River, which separates Brooklyn from Manhattan.
Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 is a pleasant, 20-minute walk from the NU Hotel Brooklyn. For additional advice on what to see, do, and eat in Brooklyn Bridge Park and its vicinity, explore the NU Hotel Blog.