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Pamela Council with the model for A Fountain for Survivors in Times Square, New York. Photo by Alex Webster courtesy of Times Square Arts.

Times Square is getting a giant fountain covered in 400,000 acrylic nails

The artwork, titled 'A Fountain for Survivors,' is from emerging artist Pamela Council.

Written by
André Wheeler

Times Square already has a lot of maximalist-minded visual stimuli to offer—giant billboards, naked cowboys, etc.—but an exciting new addition to the neighborhood soon will be an 18-foot tall fountain covered in over 400,000 acrylic nails. 

The public artwork comes from visual artist Pamela Council, who uses they/them pronouns and employs a slightly camp approach to exploring black joy and femininity in their off-kilter, site-specific pieces. In a visual sense A Fountain for Survivors will be a jubilant affair, but, according to Council, the piece rises out of an intention to create a space for people to reflect on their own “survival”—whether that’s from life or Covid-19 or any of the other innumerable challenges a person can face in a single day. 

Pamela Council, Red Drink: A BLAXIDERMY Juneteenth Offering (2018). Photo courtesy of the artist.

The fountain will be a full-throttled sensory experience, mixing together heat, smell, touch and scent. And Council even calls on viewers to toss a "wishing wafer" into the fountain. The work was commissioned by Times Square Arts, which collaborates with contemporary artists to experiment and engage with New York’s most recognizable neighborhood. 

“Fountains have this way of working in culture as meeting places, as gathering places, and places where people make wishes, giving people this ebullient sense of hope,” Council told Artnet News about the special project. “I hope people feel that, and are also inspired by the imaginative ways that I use materials.” 

A Fountain for Survivors is set to go on view October 7 and will be located in Duffy Square, located on 7th Avenue between West 46th and 47th Streets in the Crossroads of the World.

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