The Marcus Garvey Park Alliance and Friends of Morningside Park welcome Zaq Landsberg’s 25′ sculpture Reclining Liberty in Morningside Park. Sited on a sloping hill near 120th Street and Morningside Avenue the sculpture will be on view through April 2022.
Reclining Liberty is a mashup of the Statue of Liberty and the giant reclining Buddha statues of Asia. The piece, coated in plaster resin, is sturdy enough to allow viewers to touch, climb, sit atop, lean up against the figure, and interact with the monument at a human level. Finished with copper paint and an oxidizing acid, the patina mimics the actual Statue of Liberty.
The pose of the Buddha lying down is not just about death but is an illustration of one stage on the path to enlightenment. By merging the traditional Buddhist reclining pose and the quintessential American figurative symbol, Reclining Liberty asks the viewer to contemplate the status of the ideals the Statue of Liberty represents. Is the U.S. as an entity forever upright and tall, is it an eventual decline and fall, or is there another stage for the country that will transcend this symbol altogether. After all the events of 2020, and the unmooring of pretty much every American institution, this question is not just theoretical.
Monuments are where the historical, the political and the aesthetic meet. This is a through line in Landsberg’s work. The U.S. is in the midst of a re-evaluation of monuments, their history, how they function in public space, how they’ve changed from their inception and their impact on the communities they are in. Landsberg twists recognizable monuments to shed light on these questions and demystify the agendas that created them.
Connie Lee, President of the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance. “I feel like we need public art more than ever this year. Zaq Landsberg’s creative mind brings us a sculpture that is effortless to engage with. This collaboration with Brad Taylor and the Friends of Morningside Park, is an example of community organizations working together to support Harlem-based artists and present quality art in public spaces in upper Manhattan.”
“We are thrilled to be working with NYC Parks and the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance (MGPA) to bring Zaq Landsberg’s Reclining Liberty sculpture to Morningside Park.” said Brad Taylor, the President of the Friends of Morningside Park. “We are especially grateful to Connie Lee, the President of MGPA, for spearheading this exciting project which brings together two of the four parks advocacy groups that are members of the Historic Harlem Parks Coalition, which has been collaborating on programming in our parks for twenty years. We are sure ‘Lady Liberty’ will enjoy her beautiful resting place in Morningside Park as much as we will enjoy having her in our midst.”
Reclining Liberty is made possible in part with funding from: Friends of Morningside Park, Marcus Garvey Park Alliance, LMCC (Lower Manhattan Cultural Council), New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, and Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation (UMEZ).
To learn more about the artist visit ZaqArt.com