On the Right Track
At the northernmost point of the High Line, just left of the 30th Street entrance, you’ll find what looks to be a boldly-painted portrait bust nestled comfortably in a patch of tall grass. The sculpture is a resin cast of Sun Tzu, author of the military text The Art of War. It is one work in a group show currently on view on the High Line called “Lilliput“—named after the fictional island in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. For the exhibition, six artists have created miniature, whimsical sculptures inspired by Swift’s classic novel, which are tucked in discreet locations all along the park. Francis Uprichard’s The Seduction (2012), for instance, is a pint-size bronze sculpture of two monkeys caught in an embrace. It is subtly perched on the raised benches facing the High Line’s film projector at the 22nd Street entrance. The sculpture is not obvious or grand, but rather, it is a small, cheerful discovery intended to enhance the viewer’s High Line experience.
Some “Lilliput” works are more difficult to spot than others. Erika Verzutti’s miniscule artworks, for example, blend into the park’s landscape so well that I might have missed them had our tour guide, Deb Berman, not pointed them out. Situated deep within the sumac and magnolia trees planted between 25th and 27th Street are Verzutti’s four sculptures of dinosaurs. Her works are not faithful depictions of dinosaurs as we know them. They are, instead, demure, minimalistic representations of their Jurasic counterparts and take the shape of less obvious forms such as pineapples and avocados.
These “Lilliput” sculptures teach us that by simply looking closely, it is possible to find something enchanting and imaginative in even the most unexpected places. This phenomenon is not unlike the High Line itself, which has transformed an old, abandoned rail yard into a beautiful city park.
Lilliput is on view on the High Line through April 14, 2013.