Madison Square Park is 6.2 acres in the middle of Manhattan, a little pocket of green right off of Broadway itself. It sees more than 50,000 visitors a day, between locals, pedestrians, tourists and those who work in the surrounding businesses.
In 2004, Madison Square Park Conservancy launched Mad. Sq. Art, a program to bring artwork from living artists into that space, free to the public. What they seek for display is art on a monumental scale that excites public interaction, and in Fata Morgana, they got that in spades.
The work of installation artist Teresita Fernández, 47, Fata Morgana is a site-specific work designed for the park to use the space above the heads of passersby while still affecting their experience of the park.
Held aloft by unobtrusive poles, the sculpture is 500 running feet of pierced golden, mirror-polished disks. It creates vast canopies after the park’s central Oval Lawn, while letting through erratic shafts of sunlight to draw lacy, tree-like patterns on grass and pathways and viewers. Above, the polished metal creates a soft glow across the landscape, making the whole effect that of a fantasy forest, projected into the middle of the surrounding city.
When asked about her project, Ms. Fernández said, “My concept was to invert the traditional notion of outdoor sculpture by addressing all of the active walkways of the Park rather than setting down a sculptural element in the Park’s center. By hovering over the Park in a horizontal band, Fata Morgana becomes a ghost-like, sculptural, luminous mirage that both distorts the landscape and radiates golden light.”
Fata Morgana opened in the park on June 1st, 2015 and will remain in place at least through the winter.