Rafael Barrios’ Geometric Steel Sculptures Planted on Park Avenue

Rafael Barrios sculptures to be installed on Park Avenue

Last year a stretch of Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan hosted several bouquets of over-sized Will Ryman roses and a giant Urs Fischer teddy bear, but this spring the area’s monumental sculptures will be decidedly more abstract: Venezuelan-American artist Rafael Barrios is installing a series of his immense geometric sculptures on the avenue’s median between 51st and 67th streets.

Installation of the nine stainless steel sculptures — some of which weigh over 2,000 pounds and can be as tall as 20 feet — was due to begin on Saturday, with the pieces remaining on view through June 30. The exhibition is the latest to be organized for this stretch of grassy medians by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, the Fund for Park Avenue, and the Park Avenue Malls.

Barrios — who was born in Baton Rouge, raised in Venezuela and studied in Canada and New York — creates deceptively thin steel sculptures that, seen from the right angle, appear to have surprising dimensions and be frozen in impossible states of disequilibrium. At their most playful they evoke some fusion of Donald Judd‘s minimalist volumes and Aakash Nihalani‘s bright-hued optical illusion geometrics. Their rectilinear forms will play nicely off the Midtown office architecture, even if they’re decidedly less romantic than the Ryman roses. [HuffingtonPost]

— Benjamin Sutton

(Rendering of Rafael Barrios’ “Acrobatica” at 53rd Street, courtesy of the artist.)