Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Yup, it’s a plane, and it’s slowly turning somersaults all summer. This mesmerizing mechanical marvel, “How I Roll,” a new work by artist Paola Pivi, is the latest project of the Public Art Fund, which has installed the engineless six-seater in Central Park’s Doris C. Freedman Plaza on the corner of 60th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York. It will be spinning slowly there through July 26.
Born in Milan and now based in Anchorage, Alaska, Pivi is fascinated with industrial machines, particularly when they are removed from their usual settings. Before getting rolling with the Piper Seneca, she created works the featured a tractor-trailer turned on its side and an upside-down helicopter. (The artist swears that she had no involvement with the beaching of the Costa Concordia earlier this year.) “‘How I Roll’ reminds me of a famous anecdote about the birth of modernism,” says Nicholas Baume, director and chief curator of the Public Art Fund. “Constantin Brancusi, Marcel Duchamp, and Fernand Léger are said to have visited the 1912 Paris Air Show together. Observing a propeller, Brancusi said, ‘Now that is what I call sculpture!’ Paola’s work suggests that the love affair between modernist artists and industrial design is still able to generate remarkable visual poetry.”