Hugh Hayden, Surrealist Sculptor, Addresses Education Debate (The New York Times)
“Just watch your eyes,” the sculptor Hugh Hayden warned as he circumnavigated the wooden school desk he had made from cedar logs, their branches still attached. The limbs erupted from the seat and desktop, in all directions — strange, unruly, alive.
Hayden, 38, was in the last stages of production at Showman Fabricators in Bayonne, N.J., completing his most ambitious project to date. “Brier Patch,” an art installation opening Jan. 18 in New York’s Madison Square Park, assembles 100 newly minted school desks into outdoor “classrooms” across four lawns. The largest grouping morphs ground up from an orderly grid of right-angled chairs into a wild tangle of potential eye-scratching branches intersecting midair.
“He’s simultaneously questioning opportunity and inequity in the American education system,” Brooke Kamin Rapaport, deputy director and chief curator at the Madison Square Park Conservancy, said, offering an interpretation of the “brier patch,” a reference to the fictional Br’er Rabbit stories as well as to a thorny crop of plants. The show opens amid a storm of debates roiling classrooms over curriculum changes addressing systemic racism and whether to remain open amid the Omicron surge.
Read the full article here.