The Jersey City waterfront is being redeveloped, including a new office building. At the uppermost level of this 33-story tower, The SkyHouse at Exchange Place will have an outdoor observation deck with panoramic views of lower Manhattan. But until construction ends in 2020, visitors can still enjoy one guest attraction that’s already open to them – the headless woman rising 80 feet above ground level on its roof!
The “water soul statue jersey city” is a bodiless female head that rises 80 feet on the Jersey City waterfront. The sculpture was created by artist Guillermo Calzadilla and has become one of the most iconic pieces in New York City.
Jersey City, NJ, seems to aspire to be more than Manhattan’s neighbor over the Hudson River when it comes to building a reputation for itself in the arts. It aspires to be New York City.
Jersey City will receive a Pompidou Centre satellite in 2024, according to this editorial, which will undoubtedly put Manhattan’s teeny-tiny neighbor on the map. Jersey City recently debuted Water’s Soul, an 80-foot-tall sculpture of a woman’s head on its waterfront, but to what effect?
What you see is a disembodied female head extended to its full height, a finger to her lips, as if to suffocate you.
If this elongated head appears familiar, it’s because similar heads have emerged in public areas around the United States and Europe under various names and alterations.
What’s in a name, anyway?
According to the New York Post, the artist Jaume Plensa’s Jersey City piece is “paying attention to the ocean.” When it comes to his numerous identical setups, though, such logic falls flat. I’m thinking of the 40-foot-tall replica in Chicago’s Millennium Park named Look Into My Dreams, which is missing the cautioning finger.
At 2019, a similar head with hands covering the eyes was on display in Rockefeller Center. One appeared with his eyes closed at New York’s Madison Square Park in 2014. Then there’s Dream, a 60-foot-tall head in Merseyside, England, and Appearing Into My Dreams, a similar looking head at the Perez Art Museum Park in Miami.
To be truthful, artists’ work has a distinct appearance to it. Amedeo Modigliani’s trademark elongated form was present in every figure he painted, and Plensa’s work was no exception. It’s a style, not the full enchilada, with Modigliani. Plensa’s paintings are best described as variations on a subject. Was Jersey City aware that it would be undergoing a change?
The 80-foot-tall building known as ‘Water’s Soul’ is currently on the Jersey City waterfront, where the lady is pictured with her pointer finger over her lips. https://t.co/W9tLE5eS9D
— USA TODAY, October 19, 2021 (@USATODAY)
One-of-a-kind works of art
“We are happy to welcome Jaume Plensa’s beautiful sculpture to this one-of-a-kind neighborhood as we continue to establish…the booming art scene taking form in Jersey City,” Richard LeFrak, who commissioned Plensa, told ArtNet.
Is a mix of other sculptures appropriate for a “one-of-a-kind neighborhood”?
On Eunomia, you may discuss this news.
Did anybody in Jersey City consider looking up Plensa? His website prominently advertises “made in China” replicas of the head presently on display on the city’s seafront.
Plensa’s work reminded me of a 1999 piece I did for the Sarasota Public Library about a public sculpture named Bookman, which depicts a naked man sitting on a stack of books. Sarasota wasn’t looking for one-of-a-kind work, as it turned out.
It looked suspiciously like a monument of a naked guy sitting on a stack of books commissioned by the Massachusetts Transportation Authority in 1992.
There’s a difference, but it’s not a big one.
Ralph Helmick, the same artist who created both sculptures, was responsible for both. When I questioned him about it, he said there was a similarity and described his Sarasota version as a “adaptation.” “If Sarasota County is worried that the artist would make following thematically comparable works, the fabrication contract can address this subject,” Helmick noted in his commission application statement.
Helmick lost his commission, which was unsurprising. If only Jersey City had seen beyond the ostentation of an 80-foot-tall artwork.
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A new statue in Jersey City is rising 80 feet on the waterfront. The head of a bodiless female rises from the water. Reference: new statue in jersey city.
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