Josiah McElheny: Prismatic Park
In Prismatic Park, Josiah McElheny’s minimal painted wood and prismatic glass structures forge new spaces for cultural production: a curvilinear, translucent blue sound wall for experimental music; a circular, reflective green floor for vanguard dance; and a luminous red and yellow pavilion for poetry. The three works form open, stage-like platforms for the collaborating choreographers, dancers, musicians, and poets who will be working next to them, on them, and under them in the summer of 2017. Three New York nonprofits—Blank Forms, Danspace Project, and Poets House—“inhabit” the park to realize new commissions with resident artists inspired by the spontaneous audiences and chance encounters in an urban site. McElheny is distinguished for his hand-blown glass sculpture. In considering the fragility of that medium in an outdoor space, he proceeds with industrial glass and confronts questions of how his work will adapt to “publicness,” a term that has guided him from the project’s outset.
In recent years, public parks have been especially important as sites for political assertion. McElheny takes impetus from this activism as Prismatic Park reconceives it as an idealistic concept for the shared responsibility towards a public site that allots space for the highly individual, unique voice.