Steel sculptures to tower over NYC's Park Avenue

March 2, 2012 - 4:56 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Nine stainless steel, multicolored sculptures of various geometric shapes will tower over Manhattan's Park Avenue in an art project by Venezuelan sculptor Rafael Barrios.

The works, each weighing about 2,200 pounds and standing more than 20 feet tall, will be installed from 51st to 67th streets starting Saturday, organizers said. They'll be up until June 30.

"I feel very proud and happy that we were able to do this project," the 64-year old artist said.

"This shows that Latin American art is beginning to have an international impact," Barrios told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Miami.

The sculpture installation is a project by the Fund for Park Avenue, the Park Avenue Malls and the city's Department of Parks and Recreation, which every year chooses an artist's work to showcase along the stately avenue.

Barrios, who was born in Baton Rouge, La., and grew up in Venezuela, said he hopes New Yorkers "will have fun looking at them".

He was asked to do the project last November during an art fair in New York, and "we did it in seven weeks," said the artist, who divides his time between Miami, Paris and Caracas.

He worked with a team of artists in Miami led by Olivier Haligon, whose great-grandfather was involved in building the Statue of Liberty.

"The idea is to avoid monotony," Barrios said about the pieces. "That's why I used many colors like shades of silver, grays, whites, purples, iridescent blues or opal-like reds".

The colors are light sensitive so they change with the sunlight, he said.

Barrios' works have been shown in other urban spaces such as Coca-Cola International Headquarters in New York and Philippe Stark's Murano Grande building and the Sunny Isles Park in Miami.

His sculptures are also found in private collections such as those of King Juan Carlos of Spain and Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis of Germany.

Other artists who have had their sculptures shown on Park Avenue include Will Ryman and Yoshitomo Nara.

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Online:

http://rafaelbarrios.com

http://fundforparkavenue.org