Artist Jon Isherwood created the sculptures, which took on special symbolism in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic
Eight marble blossoms are on display through spring 2022 as part of the Broadway Blooms show in Upper Manhattan between 64th Street and 157th Street. American-English artist Jon Isherwood created them; some have already been shown on the Marmomac as part of the “Percorsi d’Arte“ (Ways of Art) project.
The initiator of the show is the Broadway Mall Association, an organization that takes care of the “83 verdant malls from 70th Street to 168th Street stretch from the Upper West Side through Harlem to Washington Heights,“ as it says in a self-promotion.
“Mall“ here does not mean shopping center, but a shaded promenade, partly with trees or flowerbeds, inviting people to linger. The art is intended to invite citizens and passersby to enjoy these environments, which are maintained with great effort.
There is much symbolism in the works, for which Isherwood has enlarged the filigree petals and transformed them into solid stone. For one thing, it’s about greenery making its way unmistakably in the sea of houses. With Covid-19 came another aspect: the show was originally planned for 2020, but because of transportation problems Isherwood’s work could not be shipped across the Atlantic from his studio in Italy.
After a year’s delay, they then arrived in New York City, so that the exhibit could open on August 02, 2021, as a new beginning after the pandemic.
Let’s let the artist have his say with his own interpretation: “Nature gifts us flowers, a spontaneous eruption of beauty that brings joy and wonder, and in return we offer them to one another… They convey love, celebrate accomplishments, offer comfort in grief, repay hospitality, or simply beautify a space and bring personal joy.“ Isherwood reminds us that this is true for all cultures, from the spiritual significance of the lotus blossom to the green and red poinsettias to the rose.
The special connection some of the blossoms have to their location is described in an Arts Management Magazine report (see link below).
Since 2005, the Broadway Mall Association has maintained its “Art on the Malls“ program, which in turn embraces the already 50-year-old idea of “Art in the Parks“. Supporters of the presentation of Isherwood’s work were the Morrison Gallery in Kent, CT and the Lincoln Square BID.
Italian marbles used were Bardiglio Imperiale, Calacatta Gold, Verde Rameggiato, Fantastico Arni, Rosso Cardinale, and Breccia Viola, and Portuguese Rosa Portogallo.
The “Percorsi d’Arte“ presentation at Marmomac 2018, 2019 and 2021 was a pioneering project led by Italian industrial designer Raffaello Galiotto to bring new technologies such as wire saws or CNC machines to sculptors. The innovations by no means make the artist superfluous or reduce him to a mere operator. Rather, they offer him previously unknown possibilities and take over the back-breaking work so that he can devote himself to the finer details.
Jon Isherwood is president of the Digital Stone Project, which is dedicated to new technologies. The works for Manhattan were realized by the Italian company Garfagnana Innovazione.
The sculptures and their locations:
Bloom 1 “The Earth Laughs,” Broadway & 64th Street (Dante Park).
Bloom 2 “A Gift between Two,” Broadway & 72nd Street
Bloom 3 “Live in the Sunshine,” Broadway & 79th Street
Bloom 4 “Given and Received,” Broadway & 96th Street
Bloom 5 “A Chance’s Wish,” Broadway & 103rd Street
Bloom 6 “As Always Yours,” Broadway & 117th Street
Bloom 7 “After Giverny,” Broadway & 148th Street
Bloom 8 “The Gifting Angel,” Broadway & 157th Street (Ilka Tanya Payán Park)
Photos: Jon Isherwood
(19.10.2021, USA: 10.19.2021)