Collect Pond Park, Centre St, Lower Manhattan NY, 10013
October 14, 2020 - April 30, 2021
NEW YORK - MWTH project and NYC Parks is pleased to present Medusa With The Head of Perseus by Argentine-Italian artist Luciano Garbati in Collect Pond Park, located on Centre St, Lower Manhattan, as part of NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks program. The seven-foot bronze sculpture inverts the narrative of Medusa, portraying her in a moment of somberly empowered self-defense. Medusa With The Head of Perseus will be on view from October 13, 2020 - April 30, 2021.
In Ovid’s Metamorphosis, Medusa was a maiden in the temple of Athena, who was stalked and raped by Poseidon. Athena, in a rage, banishes and curses Medusa with a monstrous head of snakes and a gaze which turns men to stone. Medusa is herself blamed and punished for the crime of which she was the victim; she is cast away as a monster and then with the cruel assistance of Athena and Poseidon, eventually is hunted-down and beheaded by the epic hero Perseus, who displays her head as a trophy on his shield. Garbati’s sculpture speaks directly to the 16th Century Florentine bronze masterpiece Perseus with the Head of Medusa by Benvenuto Cellini (1545-1554). Through this work, Garbati asks “how can a triumph be possible if you are defeating a victim?”
This narrative of victim-shaming in stories of sexual violence echoes through time, and into the present day “me too” movement. In 2018, Garbati posted a photograph of his original sculpture to social media. This re-imagined Medusa went viral and became a symbol of resistance worldwide, inspiring thousands of women to reach out and share their own stories. Garbati’s Medusa questions the mythic figure’s characterization as a monster, and investigates the woman behind the myth.
Medusa With The Head of Perseus will be installed directly across from the New York County Criminal Court, the location of high profile abuse cases including the recent Harvey Weinstein trial. Garbati’s Medusa stands facing the courthouse, as an icon of justice and the power of narrative.
Medusa With The Head of Perseus was cast in Bronze by Vanessa Solomon of Carbon Sculpt Studios in Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York and Laran Bronze Foundry in Philadelphia.
About NYC Parks’ Art in the ParksNYC Parks’ public art program, Art in the Parks, has consistently fostered the creation and installation of temporary public art in parks throughout the five boroughs. Since 1967, collaborations with arts organizations and artists have produced hundreds of public art projects in New York City parks. For more information on this program visit www.nyc.gov/parks/art.