Photographs by James Ewing
Good news! Jaume Plensa’s Echo has been extended through September 11!
Over the past three decades, the celebrated Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa has established an international reputation for creating public sculptures that are both monumental in scale and emotionally engaging in subject. Working in a wide variety of materials, Plensa has invigorated the practice of figurative sculpture with works that examine the intersection of the human form, language and communication, and global citizenship. Echo, a new site-specific sculpture for Madison Square Park, marks Plensa’s long-awaited New York City public space debut, and constitutes the largest monolithic work of art to be presented in Mad. Sq. Art’s seven-year history.
Echo, Plensa’s commission for Madison Square Park, depicts a nine-year old girl from Plensa’s Barcelona neighborhood, lost in a state of thoughts and dreams. Standing forty-four feet tall at the center of the park’s expansive Oval Lawn, Echo’s towering stature and white marble-dusted surface harmoniously reflect the historic limestone buildings that surround the park. Both monumental in size and inviting in subject, the peaceful visage of Echo creates a tranquil and introspective atmosphere amid the cacophony of central Manhattan.
Plensa’s sculpture also refers to an episode in Greek mythology in which the loquacious nymph Echo is forced as punishment to repeat only the thoughts of others. Plensa’s Echo plays on the narrative of this Greek myth by depicting a young girl’s face in a state of reverie, translating this sculptural portrait into a physical monument of the internalized voices of the thousands of daily visitors to Madison Square Park.
ABOUT JAUME PLENSA
Jaume Plensa was born in Barcelona in 1955, and lives and works there today. Over the past 25 years, Plensa has exhibited more than 30 major public art projects in countries throughout several continents. He was awarded a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture in 1993, and received an honorary doctorate in 2005 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, among other honors. His public art installations are particularly renowned, and include the legendary Crown Fountain (2000-5) in Chicago’s Millennium Park and Nomade (2007) commissioned by the Musée Picasso in Antibes, France. Plensa’s 2011 commission for Madison Square Park constitutes his long-awaited New York City public art debut. Plensa has exhibited to great acclaim at institutions including the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas; Institut Valencia d’Art Modern, Spain; the Musée Picasso, Antibes, France; the Arts Club of Chicago; Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid and Galerie National du Jeu de Paume, Paris. Plensa has been a professor and lecturer at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Plensa is represented in by Galerie Lelong in New York and Richard Gray Gallery in Chicago.
Substantial Sponsorship for Echo is provided by MANGO, Tiffany & Co., and Galerie Lelong.
Support for Echo is provided by Roberta and Michael Joseph, Toby Devan Lewis, Gerald Lippes and Jody Ulrich, Ronald A. Pizzuti, Danny and Audrey Meyer, Sorgente Group, Time Out New York, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Ace Hotel New York, NYC & Company, and Anonymous patrons. Delta Air Lines is the official airline of Mad. Sq. Art. This project is supported in part with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. Mad. Sq. Art is made possible by the leadership and generosity of the many friends of the Madison Square Park Conservancy.
Recent Press and Online Coverage of Jaume Plensa and Echo: