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Proposal to Park: Diana Al-Hadid

Feb 21, 2022 | Art

Proposal to Park: Diana Al-Hadid

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Proposal to Park is a new series focused on documenting the progression of project artists’ proposals into exhibitions for Madison Square Park’s public art program.

Diana Al-Hadid’s Delirious Matter was on view in the park in 2018.

The proposal for Delirious Matter derived from Al-Hadid’s drawings that reflected her long-term practice of interpreting and challenging historic, medieval paintings. For example, the sculpture in the park’s Reflecting Pool, Citadel, was based on Allegory of Chastity (1475) by Hans Memling. The exhibition’s proposal captured how Al-Hadid relied on and departed from Memling’s work as source material.

Please see below to learn more about Al-Hadid’s process.

Madison Square Park Conservancy: How did your proposal evolve to meet the demands of exhibiting in a public park?

Diana Al-Hadid: Knowing that I would need flexibility to allow the work to evolve as needed, my initial proposal was quite loose. My process is largely improvisational, so I knew I couldn’t offer much more than a conceptual drawing. The structure and the ‘artwork’ are always fully integrated in my work, essentially one and the same. This means they are developed in tandem, which can maybe be a bit frustrating from an engineer’s perspective. Because the work is in the public realm, engineers would need to ensure the work could withstand hurricane winds and the traffic of 60,000 people a day. It was perhaps a more ‘organic’ process than they are used to.

MSPC: What surprised you most about exhibiting work in Madison Square Park?

DAH: There is always a surprise when a work goes from an idea to a thing in space. But I think I was surprised to see that the work retained an element of intimacy, especially within the hedged-in room. I was surprised also how much those plantings changed how I think about the work’s integration into the site.

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