Pool designers have always considered their products to be works of art. Two established fine artists have taken that literally.
The Berlin-based artistic duo Elmgreen and Dragset has created a swimming pool sculpture that currently is on display at the Fifth Avenue entrance to the Channel Gardens at Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan. Real estate firm Tishman Speyer, along with the Public Art Fund, organized the exhibition.
Titled “Van Gogh’s Ear,” the startling sculpture is a 1950s kidney-shaped pool, complete with a diving board, stainless steel ladder and interior lights. But passersby will have to resist the urge to take a quick dip or host a Midtown pool party in the cyan blue “water” — because the pool is vertical.
“The artists have revealed the stunningly sensuous potential of the garden-variety swimming pool, enhancing and revealing its curvaceous form, blue interior volume, and immaculate hardware,” Nicholas Baume, Public Art Fund director and chief curator stated in a press release. “The result is a sculpture of extraordinarily strange beauty.”
The title of the work lends itself to the ear-like shape of the sculpture, which stands about 29 feet tall. It shows a common object, the backyard pool, in an uncommon place.
So why stick an icon of the past, which arguably kicked off the backyard pool industry, amongst high-end retail stores in the middle of New York? Perhaps so “one can dream of lazy days under the sun while surrounded by all the traffic and business going on at Rockefeller Plaza,” declared Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset in a statement.
And perhaps because, well, it’s pretty.
“Van Gogh’s Ear” is free to the public and on view April 13 to June 3, 2016. It will then travel to China.