NEW YORK—Park Avenue is in full bloom this winter with Will Ryman’s 10-block installation of giant roses, some as tall as 25 feet.
The project, presented by the Paul Kasmin Gallery of New York, the city's Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Fund for Park Avenue Sculpture Committee, was completed on Sunday. The “planting” of these roses began Friday night, and the installation will be on display until the end of May.
“The Roses” exhibit includes 38 rose blossoms and 20 individual petals, six of which double as lawn chairs. The display starts on 57th Street and ends on 67th Street. Each flower arrangement contains four to six roses, painted in pink and red shades and accompanied by brass insects; a bee sits atop the highest rose on 67th Street. The ladybugs, aphids, beetles, and bees give what Ryman hopes is a “humorous” take on a “bugs-eye” view of the giant blossoms.
“With these roses I wanted to do something that was larger than life and site-specific,” Ryman said. “In my work, I always try to combine fantasy with reality. In the case of 'The Roses,' I tried to convey New York City’s larger-than-life qualities through scale, creating blossoms which are imposing, humorous, and hopefully beautiful.”
The roses are constructed from plaster, wire mesh, PVC tubes, stainless steel, fiberglass resin, automotive paint, and brass. According to Our Town, an Upper East Side news source, the project cost about $1 million. Kostantin Bojanov, the owner of a fabrication company collaborating with Ryman, told Our Town that the 1,000 to 2,500-pound flowers can withstand winds of up to 120 miles per hour, while the bases are engineered to withstand hurricanes.
Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe noted that Park Avenue is known for its flower arrangements.
“['The Roses'] will enliven the area throughout the winter, in anticipation of the arrival of tulips in the spring,” Benepe said.
Ryman had created a similar, but indoor, installation of large roses sculpted out of steel and other materials in 2009. That exhibit was called “A New Beginning.”