Attending the opening and ‘unveiling’ of the new public art work I Ought To by Matthew Geller in the Myrtle Avenue Plaza in Clinton Hill.
Saturday, November 4th
Myrtle Avenue Sidewalk Plaza
550 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205
(btw Emerson Place & Steuben Street)
I ought to is a trio of round stools capped by a concave canopy made of corten steel and cast glass. The canopy is a witty conflation of the pedestrian and the sacred: a 19th century illuminated manhole cover enlarged to the size of a rose window, a standard feature of gothic cathedrals. Small steel medallions and linear braids also adorn the underside of the canopy, much the same way they are used on manhole covers for both functional and decorative purposes. On rainy days, water drains from the center of the canopy through a 24-inch oculus, creating a diminutive passive water feature in the middle of the work. At night, a spotlight mounted on a nearby lamppost illuminates the glass.
For the past 15 years Matthew Geller has worked with a visual vocabulary that doesn’t immediately telegraph its status as art. As a starting point, he uses blemishes, sites, and vernaculars that have been marginalized in some form and then retrofits these abject artifacts to create micro public squares. His work has been described in various ways, from “urban earthworks” to “industrial baroque settees.” The idea is to surprise while fostering a sense of community around an unlikely object or site.
Commissioned by the City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Design and Construction.