Still Life with Landscape (Model for a Habitat) [parenthetically, a rather pretentious title] by Sarah Sze is a sculpture located on the High Line, the high-profile urban park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets of Manhattan’s West Side.
The installation is located between West 20th and West 21st Sts. in the second section of the park, which opened last summer. It is on view through Jun 2012 and looks like a three-dimensional architectural drawing made of stainless steel, wood, paint and concrete, which provides shelter, food and water to local birds, butterflies and insects.
On my visit, I didn’t see any birds or insects partaking in the shelter or edible bounty of the sculpture, despite the abundance of fresh-looking apples and orange halves. I really enjoyed the interplay between the artwork and the High Line itself, as well as the backdrop of the larger Manhattan buildings. The second section of the park, which opened in 2011, builds on the visual vocabulary of the first section while providing its own surprises, and Sze’s sculpture is worth checking out before it’s deinstalled this summer.
The last time I walked the length of the park, it didn’t include this new 10-block section. Autumn on the Hudson Valley with Branches by Valerie Hegarty, which was located on the fence separating the original park from this second section, is now gone. Spencer Finch’s permanent installation entitled The River that Flows Both Ways can be found in the Chelsea Market Passage, which is part of the original stretch of the park.
The next phase in the park’s development, and also the most structurally complex, is the rail yards section which will hopefully open in Spring 2014.