The statue strikes back

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Q

What's up with the strange statue on the median strip at 79th and Broadway? I can't decide if it's a statue of Cleopatra or of Darth Vader.—John

A

The massive noggin, called Lydia, is one of 16 bronze sculptures scattered throughout the Upper West Side in the outdoor exhibit "Manolo Valds: Monumental Sculptures on Broadway," on display from Columbus Circle to West 166th Street through January 23. This Vaderesque piece "represents a symmetric frontal view of a woman's head," says Spanish artist Valds. While some of the other sculptures in the collection stand taller than 12 feet and weigh more than 2,000 pounds, Lydia is a mere 7.5 feet tall and is 8.5 feet wide.

"This sculpture, like the Odalisca at 72nd Street, has eyes and eyebrows etched into the bronze face," Valds says. He used the works of renowned artists as a foundation for his collection, drawing on masters such as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso for inspiration. For more information, listen to the audio tour of the exhibit (212-901-3310, marlboroughgallery.com).

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