Avast, Ye Mateys! Thar’s Chris Burden’s “Ghost Ship” on Yonder New Museum Façade


On Friday the New Museum finished installing Chris Burden‘s conceptual sailboat “Ghost Ship” (2005) on the institution’s façade — in the spot most recently occupied by Isa Genzken‘s “Rose II” (2007) — in preparation for the California artist’s upcoming survey at the museum, “Extreme Measures,” which opens October 2. The 30-foot ship is an exceptionally surreal addition to a Bowery streetscape already full of extremes — see, for instance, the upscale diner and historic Bowery Mission shelter that sit on either side of the New Museum.


The ship, which is suspended about four stories above the sidewalk, isn’t the only Burden work visible from the street. High atop the New Museum’s stack of boxes sits “Twin Quasi Legal Skyscrapers” (2013), a pair of 36-foot-tall mini-towers that dramatically alter the SANAA-designed building’s silhouette and echo the similar outlines of the World Trade Center towers.

Though visitors to “Extreme Measures” will not have a chance to get any closer to the floating boat, one of the projects planned for the New Museum’s First Saturdays family programming events does involve assembling your own boat up in the institution’s Sky Room. The first such ship-building party, on October 5, is already on the horizon.


— Benjamin Sutton

(Photos by the author.)