For anyone watching, the transformation of the High Line into a series of parks, wild spaces, and art spaces has been a lovely one. One of the final pieces is now on the horizon: the High Line Plinth.
London has had a plinth for decades, Fourth Plinth, where a bare pedestal was supposed to support a statue of William IV, but instead has hosted a long series of contemporary and temporary installations of sculpture or, occasionally, performance.
The High Line Plinth, expected to be completed in 2018, will be set in the triangular plaza above 30th Street and 10th Avenue, where a spur provides enough space for assembly and larger sculptures.
The Plinth will be overlooked by the new skyscrapers of the Hudson Yards office complex, and tall enough that work standing on it will be visible from the street below.
Early calls for art work were put out last year, quietly, and nearly 60 artists submitted ideas. By this spring, an advisory committee of artists and curators will narrow that list down to a dozen, then to two.
Ideas for the first sculpture to occupy the plinth include Sam Durant’s stylized drone, Baba Yaga’s hut on stilts by Haim Steinbach, and a massive bust of a black woman with cowrie shells for hair by sculptor Simone Leigh. The inaugral choice of sculpture will be on display on the plinth for eighteen months before a new work is chosen. The plinth is planned to change size and shape as needed.
The advisory committee currently responsible for narrowing down the choices consists of Helen Molesworth, chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA and Franklin Sirmans, who directs the Perez Art Museum in Miami among others. There has been some criticism that the choices made for the High Line should be made by New York City natives, but it is two High Line officials who will make the final decisions.