Get us in your inbox


Here's a first look at Rockefeller Center's major new sculpture installation

Get ready for some massive pieces of art on view through October 2.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

Rockefeller Center has been transformed into a free public sculpture park with artwork inspired by nature for the second iteration of the Frieze Sculpture installation.

The installation was supposed to be held in the spring but had to be postponed due to the pandemic, much like Frieze's other physical events this year. But now that NYC is waking up bit from its pandemic slumber, the show can finally go on.

Leading international artists Ghada Amer, Beatriz Cortez, Andy Goldsworthy, Lena Henke, Camille Henrot and Thaddeus Mosley created large-scale works for the plaza. The pieces are inspired by the area's natural materials of earth, rock, and plants and by the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. (That was the original date when Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center was scheduled to debut.)

The flags below are more than meets the eye. They were made with dirt and earth from each of the 50 states. Andy Goldsworthy's Red Flags (2020) examines the contexts of flags—their inherent and potential meanings—in one of New York’s most iconic flag flying sites.

Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center 2020
A flag installation titled "Red Flags" by artist Andy Goldsworthy.Photograph: Courtesy Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Tishman Speyer

Camille Henrot's Inside Job is a bronze sculpture in Rock Center's Channel Gardens that evokes the shape of a shark and the beak of a bird, mixing threat with tenderness. She'll also present a series of small-scale works from Is it possible to be a revolutionary and like flowers?, which takes inspiration from previous collaborations with artists undertaken at the Sōgetsu School. 

Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center 2020
"Inside Job" by artist Camille HenrotPhotograph: Courtesy Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Tishman Speyer

Women’s Qualities is inspired by Amer's encounters with gender stereotypes in Busan in 2000 and the U.S. in 2020. She asked people what qualities they found most important in women and has written their responses with flowers to create a living portrait of the "impossible women ideal." 

Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center 2020
"Women's Qualities" by artist Ghada AmerPhotograph: Courtesy Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Tishman Speyer

Made of steel frame and sheet metal, Glacial Erratic looks like an ancient boulder—not unlike the glacial erratics found across New York City—and will age as it is exposed to the elements and human traffic. This is meant to mark temporality and make the "planetary nature of ancient migration" visible.

Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center 2020
"Glacial Erratic" by artist Beatriz Cortez Photograph: Courtesy Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Tishman Speyer

Lena Henke presents two new sculptures, R.M.M. (Power Broker Purple) (2020) and R.M.M. (Organ, Organ, Organ Red) (2020) that combine Henke's personal experience and the history of New York City’s urban planning—in particular the controversial designs of architect Robert Moses.

The sculptures are an ode to the equestrian symbols in and around Rockefeller Center, including Carl Milles' three-part work Man and Nature (1937-41); Attilio Piccirilli's glass block panel Youth Leading Industry (1936), installed over the Fifth Avenue entrance at the International Building North; and Robert Garrison's fantastical stone bas-relief, Morning, Present, Evening (1932) including the head of the mythological horse at the 1270 entrance.

Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center 2020
Lena Henke's "R.M.M. (Power Broker Purple)" and "R.M.M. (Organ, Organ, Organ Red)"Photograph: Courtesy of Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Tishman Speyer

Thaddeus Mosley's three monumental freestanding sculptures called Illusory ProgressionTrue to Myth, and Rhizogenic Rhythms, respectively, are on Fifth Avenue in front of the Channel Gardens. These bronze works are the first multiple cast works in Mosley’s 60-year career and are made with salvaged Pittsburgh timber and discarded wood fragments. They demonstrate what he describes as "weight in space."

Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center 2020
"Illusory Progression," "True to Myth," and "Rhizogenic Rhythms" by artist Thaddeus MosleyPhotograph: Courtesy Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Tishman Speyer

The sculptures will be up through October 2. 

Most popular on Time Out

- 13 hidden patios, backyards and gardens for outdoor dining in NYC
- The highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere is reopening for visitors
- Find out what your NYC building looked like in the 1940s
- Broadway shows now on sale for 2021
- Indoor gyms are reopening in NYC Wednesday

Popular on Time Out

    You may also like
    You may also like