NYC Parks is presenting “ARMORS,” a new public art exhibition in Fort Tryon Park, on view through September. Icelandic sculptor Steinunn Thorarinsdottir’s site-specific project in the park’s Cloisters Lawn features three androgynous, human-like figures in dialogue with suits of armor. The armor was cast from a custom 3D scan of a carefully chosen suit of armor from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s permanent collection.
“The Cloisters are a magical part of Fort Tryon Park, and Steinunn Thorarinsdottir’s sculptures build on its existing medieval collection in such a beautiful way,” said Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “The juxtaposition of these suits of protective armor out in the open in this picturesque park is quite extraordinary. We look forward to the many visitors who will encounter these pieces this spring and summer.”
“Ancient armors are, in themselves, sculptural forms,” said artist Steinunn Thorarinsdottir. “They were developed for war, but they give a sharp insight into the psyche of man. The iconographical resonance that a suit of armor has taken on is a testament to how violence and the need to protect ourselves have been central to our lives for centuries; the armor is a materialization of man’s aggression. I wanted to merge medieval armors and ageless, androgynous figures in a way that would speak to the human condition today and in the past.”
For the selection of armor, Thorarinsdottir consulted Donald La Rocca, a veteran curator in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Department of Arms and Armor. La Rocca suggested three armors based on their quality and historical importance (each has spent decades on permanent display in the Museum), as well as relative variety and amenability to the 3D scanning process. With assistance from museum conservators, the armors were temporarily removed from display and meticulously scanned by the Met’s Imaging Department. The 3D image files were then sent to be cast in aluminum at a traditional lost-wax-method foundry outside of Shanghai.
“ARMORS” will be on view at the Cloisters Lawn in Fort Tryon Park through September 13, 2018.