Jon Isherwood’s marble sculptures usher in a sense of community on New York’s most famous street
Along New York’s Upper West Side, as the temperature drops and leaves begin to fall and blend into the cityscape, flowers are constantly blooming on Broadway.
Eight sculptures by artist Jon Isherwood have been placed along the green malls that intertwine Broadway, from Lincoln Square to Washington Heights, in an instillation that brings life-size flowers carved from marble to the streets of upper Manhattan .
The flowering flora is large enough for passers-by to sit on. A gift in between, which was placed outside a subway station on 72nd Street and Broadway, consists of two flowers slightly facing each other so people can sit and lie down, maybe even hire a conversation. For the artist, flowers are universal, accepted and appreciated by all. The eight sculptures, in turn, are meant to serve as a bridge between communities and span over four miles of New York’s most famous thoroughfare, connecting desperate neighborhoods and sparking conversation.
âI chose the flowers for Broadway in part because the imagery is accessible to the many people who navigate these intersections in their daily lives. They are imbued with universal symbolism and can create wonder and joy in their discovery. By placing them in a series of locations across neighborhoods, I hope to promote a sense of connectedness in a space that can otherwise seem impersonal, anonymous and alienating, âIsherwood said.
These marble flowers start in Dante Park, on 64th Street and Broadway. The final bloom is almost 100 blocks away, in Ilka Tanya PayÃ¡n Park on Broadway and 157th Street and all are featured by the Broadway Mall Association, which previously had twelve public art exhibits along Broadway. Sculpted in expressive and colorful Bardiglio Imperiale, Calacatta Gold, Verde Rameggiato, Fantastico Arni, Rosso Cardinale, Breccia Viola and Rosa Portogallo marbles, the sculptures will be on display until spring 2022.
“Why are we giving flowers? Isherwood writes in his artist statement, “The act can convey love, celebrate achievement, offer solace in grief, repay hospitality, or simply spruce up a space and bring personal joy.” These are cases that happen every day, in every community. Broadway Flowers, in a way, shows New Yorkers how alike they are, no matter where they live.