Tuesday, November 15th, under a cloudy sky and the glacial UN building, Jonathan, of the New York City's Art in the Parks Program stood in front of a crowd of almost 30 people to unveil a new temporary work of art by Rachel Owens entitled, Inveterate Composition for Clare. The event took place in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at 1st Avenue and 47th Street. The atmosphere was a bittersweet one, for the 'Clare' referred to in the sculpture's name is the late Clare Weiss, who worked as the curator of temporary art for the Art in the Parks Program until her death in 2010 after struggling with breast cancer.
The fruition of this piece marks one of the last Ms. Weiss curated.
"The last thing I did with Clare was pretty much interview Rachel and-I don't believe in karma- but I think it was good." Jonathan said through tears as he ended his opening speech.
Inveterate Composition for Clare will stand in the center of the park until May 2012. It is a statue built from one Hummer SUV. The pieces have been remodeled and painted white to take the shape of an iceberg. Within, Ms. Owens placed the first underwater recording of a humpback whale made in 1971. The sound echoes from the great structure belly like from the belly of a hungry beast. The piece is in response to issues on global warming and consumerism to which Ms. Owens insisted,
"Though this piece does not propagandize, it sits in solidarity with freedom of speech and battles against oppression."
Although Inveterate was created originally for the location, Owens hopes that it will move on to other places at the end of its term.
Ms. Owens, born in Atlanta, Georgia is currently living and working in Brooklyn. With the exception of an exhibit in Miami, Owens has shown only locally to New York City. Many of her sculptures comment on global warming and the environment. She often uses found materials to create situations surrounding animals and their relationship to waste and consumerism.
As this is one of Ms. Weiss' last acheivments as curator, the Parks Department, like the scultpture has chosen not to forget her. A new award, entitled The Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Award will be put into action next year, the deadline being January 2012. The award recognizes upcoming artists as well as locations around the city, underserved with public art, the current outstanding location for the project is Joyce Kilmer Park in the Bronx.