Otherworldly bronze sculptures have popped up in Brooklyn Bridge Park

They're made with cork and animal skull fragments.

Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Things to Do Editor
Sculptures in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Photograph: By Nicholas Knight

Are these otherworldly sculptures emerging from the depths of the earth or returning to the underworld? That's the question Huma Bhabha hopes visitors will ponder as they explore her monumental new bronze artworks in Brooklyn. 

Titled "Before the End," the installation of four, eight-foot tall bronze sculptures topped with animal skull fragments is now on view through March 9, 2025. Find it at the Pier 3 Greenway Terrace in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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Bhabha is known for reimagining the figure in her sculptures and drawings. In this case, she did that by casting carved cork and skull fragments in a piece that interrogates the intersections of art, science fiction, horror, and mythology. The artist collected the skull fragments while working as an artisan in a taxidermist's studio. She also used a horseshoe crab exoskeleton in the artwork.

A close-up of a sculpture.
Photograph: By Nicholas Knight

The mysterious figures recall ancient effigies cut into tombstones. Each of the four figures has a different name. There's Feel the Hammer, Member, Mr. Stone, and Nothing Falls. Bhabha drew upon classic cult horror films like Destroy All Monsters, H.R. Giger’s designs for the Alien franchise, and the work of artists including Giacometti, Marisol, and Basquiat.

Situated at Brooklyn Bridge Park, the pieces are surrounded by other formidable landmarks, like bridges, waterways, and even the Statue of Liberty and One World Trade. That makes for a powerful juxtaposition, especially given the long history of the park itself in New York City. Once a deteriorated stretch of waterfront, the park now offers lush lawns, waterfront promenades, and expansive skyline views.  

After growing up in Pakistan, Bhabha moved to the United States for college, and she now lives in Poughkeepsie. 

Four sculptures in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Photograph: By Nicholas Knight

"Huma Bhabha’s eccentric characters captivate through contradiction, seemingly forged in geological time yet animated with a visceral sense of immediacy," Public Art Fund Executive & Artistic Director Nicholas Baume said in a press release. "Before The End is set amidst the expansive landscape of Brooklyn Bridge Park, a site where natural and man-made elements converge, allowing the works to take on a profound sense of connection to the earth."

Huma Bhabha: Before The End is presented by Public Art Fund. It's the latest outdoor artwork to appear in NYC, joining an eclectic collection of pieces to see this spring, including a hot dog in Times Square, a massive tire labyrinth in the Garment District, and a subway serpent in the Rockaways.

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