Along Fifth Avenue at the entrance of Rockefeller Center, sits a very unusual site: a giant swimming pool rising upright from the sidewalk to the height of a four-story building. Unsure of why a pool might be situated along a busy stretch of Fifth Avenue, I discovered that it is not a swimming pool at all but rather a sculpture of a turquoise blue, mid-century, California-style swimming pool. The artists responsible for this sculpture are Michael Elmgreen of Denmark and Ingar Dragset of Norway, whose most well-known sculpture is Prada Marfa, a tiny replica of a Prada Store dropped in the desert 26 miles from the tiny city of Marfa, Texas (population 2000).
Tishman Speyer, the owners of Rockefeller Center, commissioned this piece in conjunction with Public Art Fund, a non-profit organization that exhibits art in public spaces with the goal of bringing culture to a wide audience without any barriers of entry. The piece, when viewed from behind resembles an ear, so the artists decided to call it Van Gogh’s ear, named for the artist who famously cut off his own ear.
This piece will be on display until June 3, 2016 on Fifth Avenue at 50th Street.