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Cracked blocks invade The Highline: Dont worry, it's just art

Written by
Howard Halle

RECOMMENDED: Full High Line in NYC guide

Ah, The Highline, that symbol of civic virtue and enlightened public-space policy. Or, as an increasing number of New Yorkers seem to think, that fount of runaway gentrification and high-end condos. Mayor Bill de Blasio, for one, has said he's never been to The Highline, before adding (not entirely convincingly) that he plans to get around to it at some point. Meanwhile, Melva Max, co-owner of Chelsea's venerable La Lunchonette, recently complained to the media that The Highline is pricing her business out of the area.

Adrián Villar Rojas, The Evolution of God, 2014Timothy Schenck, courtesy of Friends of the High Line

Still everyone would probably agree that A) The views from the The Highline are fantastic, even if they attract hoards of tourists and B) It's a pretty decent place for displaying public art, which is why there's so much of it up there. Indeed, the recently opened final leg of the park has already sprouted 13 large, fractured concrete blocks—a new site-specific piece by Argentine sculptor Adrián Villar Rojas.

Adrián Villar Rojas, The Evolution of God, 2014Timothy Schenck. Courtesy of Friends of the High Line

Commissioned by The Highline, The Evolution of God, as the work is titled, consists of the aforementioned blocks placed in the old track bed that has been left almost completely intact as part of the expansion's industrial ruin aesthetic. They follow along one side of the tracks curving in the direction of the Hudson. Some of the blocks are embedded with refuse like discarded sneakers and clothes.

Adrián Villar Rojas, The Evolution of God, 2014Timothy Schenck. Courtesy of Friends of the High Line

Rojas is known for super-ambitious projects, and his work often evokes science fiction, especially the dystopian kind. Once, at the New Museum, he installed a space station, rising floor to ceiling, that was made out of something that looked like dried, cracked mud. The Highline installation is one of his most abstract pieces, but it still gives off a whiff of the apocalyptic: It's made out of materials intended to eventually crumble—sort of like the dream of living in the neighborhood for anyone who isn't loaded.

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