By Anna Peirano
The High Line in New York City has gone through a number of renovations and improvements over the last few years. Now, it’s time for the decoration as plans to install a sculpture by artist Jeff Koons are underway.
The sculpture, simply called “Train,” is a full-size replica of a 1943 Baldwin 2900 steam locomotive. It would be 70 feet long and have the ability to spin its wheels, blow a horn, and emit steam. However, this train won’t be sitting along the tracks as one might expect. Instead, it would be suspended above the High Line, dangling from a crane.
“We’ve had a crush on the ‘Train” for a while now,” said Robert Hammond, one of the founders of the organization called “Friends of The High Line” organizing the area’s renovation. “To me, it looks very industrial and sculptural. The craftsmanship that went into these industrial engines is quite beautiful.”
The sculpture would weight several tons and would be incorporated into the last phase of the park, which is a half-mile stretch that runs along the West Side rail yards and north to 34th Street.
Jeff Koons is known for his reproductions of banal objects in sculptural form. Many critics view his work as pioneering, while others dismiss it as kitsch. He says of this current project that, “The power and dynamic of Train represents the ephemeral energy that runs throughout the city every day.”
“Like any Jeff Koons work, it is strikingly simple, ingenious and probably one of the most amazing things you’ll ever see. It’s like picking up a dog by its tail, with the legs still running,” said Jeff Eccles, former director of the Public Art Fund. “In some ways, it’s suspended between the past and the future. Were one to commission a site-specific work for the High Line, you probably couldn’t have come up with a better piece.”
The Friends of the HIgh Line need to find investors in order to raise the $25 million it would take to complete and install the sculpture.