Thomas Houseago’s new commission Masks (Pentagon) will be on view on the plaza April 28 – June 12. The exhibit, organized by Public Art Fund and Tishman Speyer, will be free and open to the public.
Designed specifically for Rockefeller Plaza, Masks (Pentagon) consists of five masks ranging in height from 14.5 to 16.5 feet, each of which reflects a different approach to the stylized representation of the human face, from the clearly recognizable to the highly abstracted. As each colossal face looks out towards the surrounding cityscape, the spaces between them become “doorways” that give access to an interior “room”. From inside, the mask’s eyes will create windows that frame views of the landscape and skyscrapers of Midtown Manhattan.
The five masks, which were cast from clay in industrial-strength synthetic plaster, stand on a stepped base made from massive beams of unfinished redwood. The back of each element of the sculpture reveals the artists method of construction – a grid-like armature of rebar inlaid with hemp and plaster. The resulting five-sided form might be compared to that of an archaic temple, the ritual function of which has been lost in time.
“In this piece I wanted to bring the activity and the feel of the studio into public space as an experience. The public gets to “see” the work both from the outside as an image but then also from the inside as an insight into its construction. It becomes a kind of retreat from the city but also a porous viewing space. The public becomes part of the experience of looking and also an integral part of the work,” said artist Thomas Houseago.
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a world-wide symbol of the holidays in New York City. The 2015 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will be lit for the first time on Wednesday, December 2, with live performances from 7–9 PM, at Rockefeller Plaza, between West 48th and West 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Tens of thousands will crowd the sidewalks for the event and hundreds of millions will watch it live across the globe. The Tree will remain lit and can be viewed until 8pm on January 6, 2016.