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This new commission by Los Angeles-based artist Liz Glynn (b. 1981, Boston) draws inspiration from one of the grandest Fifth Avenue ballrooms designed by famed Gilded Age architect Stanford White: the now-demolished William C. Whitney Ballroom.
Located at the southeast entrance to Central Park, one of the nation’s first public parks, the work stands just eight blocks from the original mansion in a plaza named for the founder of Public Art Fund. Glynn’s work, which she describes as a “ruin”, transforms Doris C. Freedman Plaza into a “ballroom” featuring opulent Louis XIV replica furniture from the original space but with a twist—her furniture is recast in concrete, a populist material more commonly seen in modern architecture. These 26 painstakingly-created sofas, chairs, footstools, and arches adorn the 3,500-square-foot plaza, where the public will be invited to enjoy the artist’s contemporary re-imagination of a historically exclusive space as one that is accessible to all. In this strange facsimile of a once opulent past, Glynn addresses the evolving face of a city: who has access to space in a society that is increasingly divided along socio-economic lines?