Teresita Fernández

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Fata Morgana, a 500-foot-long sculpture in six sections installed horizontally above park visitors, will be Mad. Sq. Art’s most ambitious commissioned outdoor sculpture

Mad. Sq. Art, the free, contemporary art program of Madison Square Park Conservancy, proudly presents Fata Morgana by New York-based artist Teresita Fernández, the Conservancy’s largest and most ambitious outdoor sculpture to date. The outdoor sculpture, which will consist of 500 running feet of golden, mirror-polished discs that create canopies above the pathways around the Park’s central Oval Lawn, will be on view in Madison Square Park beginning June 1, 2015.

In nature, a Fata Morgana is a horizontal mirage that forms across the horizon line. Alluding to this phenomenon, Fernández’s project introduces a shimmering horizontal element to the Park that will engage visitors in a dynamic experience. The installation is a mirror-polished, golden metal sculpture that will hover above the Park’s winding walkways to define a luminous experiential passage for Park visitors. The metal forms, perforated with intricate patterns reminiscent of foliage, will create abstract flickering effects as sunlight filters through the canopy, casting a golden glow across the expanse of the work, paths, and passersby.  The project is Mad. Sq. Art’s first to fully utilize the upper register of a visitor’s space.


Teresita Fernández (American, b. 1968), a 2005 MacArthur Fellow, is best known for her prominent public sculptures and unconventional use of materials. Her work is characterized by an interest in perception and the psychology of looking. Her experiential, large-scale works are often inspired by landscape and natural phenomena as well as diverse historical and cultural references.

Fata Morgana is a site-specific work designed for, and inspired by, Madison Square Park,” said Ms. Fernández.  “My concept was to invert the traditional notion of outdoor sculpture by addressing all of the active walkways of the Park rather than setting down a sculptural element in the Park’s center. By hovering over the Park in a horizontal band, Fata Morgana becomes a ghost-like, sculptural, luminous mirage that both distorts the landscape and radiates golden light.”

Madison Square Park’s 6.2-acre site welcomes more than 50,000 daily visitors — a richly diverse audience including local residents, families, public school groups and day camps, office workers, students, artists, and international tourists.


“Our mission with Mad. Sq. Art is twofold: it is a consummate challenge for artists to create outdoor work on a monumental scale, and it is a partnership between the Conservancy and the public,” said Keats Myer, Executive Director of Madison Square Park Conservancy.

“Mad. Sq. Art is a singular opportunity for artists to further their current practice without the physical limitations of a traditional gallery space,” said Brooke Kamin Rapaport, Martin Friedman Senior Curator.  “What Fernández has realized with Fata Morgana is the most monumental example of this approach.”

A celebrated series of sculpture exhibitions by living artists, Mad. Sq. Art was launched by Madison Square Park Conservancy in 2004 to bring free public art programs to New York. The program has received extensive critical and public attention since its inception and has developed into a world-class cultural institution. Its ambition and scale expands each year alongside an increasingly diverse range of innovative, world-class artists.

Fata Morgana  was  designed by  Teresita Fernández in collaboration with SITU Fabrication.  Fata Morgana  was fabricated by Adirondack Studios. Structural engineering by Thornton Tomasetti.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram via the hashtags  #MadSqArt, #TeresitaFernandez and  #FataMorgana.


About the Artist:

TF_Portrait_Noboru Morikawa

Teresita Fernández (American b. 1968,) is a 2005 MacArthur Foundation Fellow and the recipient of many prestigious awards, including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Artist’s Grant, an American Academy in Rome Affiliated Fellowship, and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Biennial Award. Appointed by President Obama, Fernández served from 2011-2014 on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, a federal panel that advises the President, Congress, and governmental agencies on national matters of design and aesthetics.

Fernández’s large-scale commissions include recent site-specific works at Louis Vuitton locations in Shanghai and Paris. Additional site-specific installations include  Amethyst Cinema at the Galerie Pfriem at SCAD, France, and  Blind Blue Landscape  at the renowned Bennesee Art site in Naoshima, Japan. Fernández is the youngest artist commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum for Olympic Sculpture Park where her permanently installed work,  Seattle Cloud Cover, allows visitors to walk under a covered skyway while viewing the city’s skyline through optically shifting multicolored glass.   The artist currently has an immersive, large-scale exhibition,  As Above So Below, on view at MASS MoCA through April 2015.

Fernández’s works are included in many prominent collections and have been exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally at The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; The Modern Art Museum of Ft. Worth, TX; The Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.,; Centro de Arte Contemporaneo, Spain; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. Fernández is currently on the board of Artpace, a non-profit, international artist’s residency program. She received her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and her BFA from Florida International University. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.


Major exhibition support for Fata Morgana is provided by Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong, and Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco.

Substantial exhibition support for Fata Morgana is provided by the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation. Major support for Mad. Sq. Art is provided by The Charina Endowment Fund, Toby Devan Lewis, Pentagram Design, Sorgente Group of America, Thornton Tomasetti, Tiffany & Co., The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and Anonymous. Substantial support is provided by The Buhl Foundation, Irving Harris Foundation, The Sol LeWitt Fund for Artist Work, The Henry Luce Foundation, Danny and Audrey Meyer, Ronald A. Pizzuti, and The Rudin Family. Ace Hotel New York is the Official Hotel Partner of Madison Square Park Conservancy.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Mad. Sq. Art is made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Mad. Sq. Art is supported in part with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. Madison Square Park Conservancy is a public/private partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.


Teresita Fernández, Fata Morgana, 2015. Courtesy the artist, Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong, and Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco. Photograph by Yasunori Matsui/Madison Square Park Conservancy;  © Teresita Fernández

Teresita  Fernández

Photo by  Noboru Morikawa

Courtesy  of Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong, and Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco

Click here to view pictures of Fata Morgana during the July 19 Dia De Reyes Afro-Cuban Workshop and Performance