Oct. 2, 2023 By Bill Parry
Visitors to the Long Island City waterfront this fall have a new sculpture garden to explore thanks to a collaboration between Culture Lab LIC and developer TF Cornerstone, which played such a major role in reshaping the Queens skyline along the East River during the past decade.
Culture Lab LIC led the open call for artists and revealed three pieces by Long Island City artist Kenny Greenberg and sculptures by Paul Maus and Erwin List Sanchez who are based on Long Island.
“The artwork by Paul, Kenny and Erwin have created stands as a testament not only for their remarkable talent but also to the thriving artistic ecosystem that Long Island City has become,” Culture Lab LIC Executive Director Edjo Wheeler said. “Culture Lab is grateful for our continued relationship with TF Cornerstone, and we are proud to unveil these three incredible art pieces which are a long-lasting contribution to the cultural tapestry of our community.”
The new sculpture garden is located between dual residential towers at 5203 and 5241 Center Blvd. completed by TF Cornerstone in 2021 bringing 1,194 apartments, including 719 permanently affordable homes across from Hunters Point South Park.
“We are very excited to unveil this new sculpture garden to the vibrant, creative community of Long Island City. By collaborating with these artists, we hope to bring visual interest and meaning to the public realm along the waterfront as well as infuse the area with a sense of communal life and energy,” said Jon McMillan, senior vice president and director of planning at TF Cornerstone. “These sculptures serve as dynamic focal points that resonate with the artistic essence of Long Island City. Our vision is to create an urban environment where creativity thrives, forging a connection between art, landscape and the neighborhood.”
Greenberg is a longtime member of Community Board 2 and one of the city’s leading neon specialists for theater, film, TV and fine arts. His work has graced public spaces, galleries and museums — such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art — showcasing his dedication to illuminating the artistic realm. Greenberg submitted his original work, ‘ART DREAM,’ for the Hunter’s Point sculpture garden, which features handcrafted neon letters that are intended to create a small segment of a larger imaginary crossword puzzle.
“As an artist deeply rooted in New York’s creative scene, I am thrilled to contribute ‘ART DREAM’ to the Hunter’s Point South Sculpture Garden. This installation not only reflects my passion for neon artistry, but it also invites the community to engage in a playful exploration of language and imagination,” Greenberg said. “Art can lead us to dreams and dreams can lead to art. I hope that the play between these words and the dancing and breathing letters are visually fun and inwardly affirmational.”
Maus is a self-taught sculptor based in Cutchogue who began professionally sculpting in 2014 by creating Byzantine icons and three-dimensional abstract figurative works. His selected piece, ‘Confidence,’ is part of an abstract white marble figurative series that portrays women asserting their identity against societal pressures. Created with a free-hand approach, the sculpture embodies the artist’s concerns about environmental issues, racism and gender inequality, while avoiding classical or clichéd representations.
“My approach to crafting ‘Fortitude’ celebrates the beauty of embracing the unexpected and the imperfections inherent in stone. This process is an embodiment of the very spontaneity that drives my artistic vision, allowing the sculpture to take shape organically in three dimensions,” Maus said. “I am genuinely excited to reveal this piece within the Hunter’s Point South Sculpture Garden and my aspiration is for it to serve as a catalyst for thought-provoking conversations that bridge the gap between art and the profound challenges that influence our global landscape.”
And finally, the moose is loose in the garden, a unique piece by the Mexican-born Sanchez who forges and welds railroad spikes to create his sculptures, including life-size animal sculptures inspired by nature and the apocalyptic world of the wastelands. His piece within the sculpture garden, titled ‘The Moose Spirit,’ is a life-size moose made by forging and welding close to 1,000 old railroad spikes. It is intended to serve as a reminder to build a better future for life on Earth.
“With the unveiling of ‘The Moose Spirit’ in the sculpture garden, I am truly elated and hopeful that my artwork can ignite a sense of urgency in people to champion the cause of preserving nature,” Sanchez said. “I hope that my work will inspire people to take action to protect nature. We must all do our part to ensure that the moose spirit lives on.”
Santa Chiara, the Italian pasticciera and cafe located at 5241 Center Blvd., sponsored the opening of the sculpture park on Sept. 28 with their famous pizza and gelato.