A Public Art Project Reimagines the Statue of Liberty

Encore: July 03, 2014

Created by Vietnamese-born Danish artist Danh Vo, the exhibit titled We the People invites viewers to reflect on the meaning of liberty from multiple perspectives, just in time for the Fourth of July. MetroFocus associate producer Matthew Chao spoke with associate curator Andria Hickey about the exhibition.

In 1870, French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi began designing what would become one of the most recognized statues in the world.  The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886 and perched on top of the star-shaped Fort Wood on what was then-called Bedloe’s Island. Originally representing freedom and democracy, the Statue of Liberty has since become a globally recognizable monument, taking on different meanings to different people in different places.

Danh Vo, a Vietnamese-born Danish artist, began the process of creating a replica of the Statue of Liberty piece by piece in 2010, naming the project We The People. The sculpture consists of approximately 250 individual parts, different groups of which have been on display all around the world. Some of the pieces made their way to the New Museum in New York City in 2013 where they were seen by Andria Hickey, associate curator of the Public Art Fund, who had a different idea on how the pieces should be exhibited.

“When we had the opportunity to use this site at Brooklyn Bridge Park, I thought that this might be the perfect location to see these works shown outside in a very major way for the first time […] to kind of bring the project to the place where the original statue is,” Hickey said.

According to Hickey, the location of the exhibition is just as important as the pieces themselves, as the surroundings add to the meaning of each object on display.

“I think being here in New York and watching how people interact with the statue pieces is very different than how people, for example, in Germany might react, or even in Hong Kong, or places our ideas might be totally different in terms of thinking about the meaning of what the Statue of Liberty represents,” she said.

Of the 250 pieces that make up the “We The People” project, approximately 51 are now on display in Brooklyn Bridge Park and City Hall Park. The exhibit is free to the public and will be on view through December 5th.

You can learn more about The Public Art Fund and their current exhibitions at publicartfund.org.


MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.


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