New York City may be the “city that never sleeps,” but it is definitely a city that runs on its clocks. Rush hour, closing time, first-second-third shifts: everyone has a schedule, and time is always rushing by. The city is even centered around Times Square.
“We like to keep it moving – this is New York,” said Public Art Fund director Nicholas Baume in a phone interview about one of the rushing city’s newest art installations, Against the Run in Central Park.
A passerby in a hurry to beat their own clock might not even notice the truth of the piece. It’s strikingly simple – Just a black-painted clock with a big white face, standing at the edge of Central Park on Doris C. Freedman Plaza. But if they glance up to check the time, they’ll be forced to take a second look. And probably a third.
The red second hand will stand still, always pointed directly up. The minute and hour hands will move in their normal directions. And the face of the clock will rotate counter-clockwise. And amidst all of this, the clock will always tell the correct time.
It’s hard to visualize from the page, and bound to be a bit confusing in person, but that is what the artist, Polish-born Alicja Kwade, likes to see. She enjoys creating works that appear not to work while still functioning exactly as they need to, creating confusion by defying convention that is, after all, entirely arbitrary.
Against the Run will be on view in Central Park from September 10th 2015 through February 14 2016. It is Kwade’s first solo public art commission. Her work was previously included in the Public Art Fund’s 2013 group show at City Hall Park, “Lightness of Being.”