The West Harlem Art Fund is pleased that The H in Harlem by artist Bentley Meeker will finally be installed in June. It was a tough approval process and I am very proud of the artist for sticking with it. Public art is hard in NYC. I want the public to know and not take public art for granted.
This will be the largest public art installation in the history of Harlem. Many thanks to the NYC Department of Transportation, Manhattan Community Board for their letter of support, local restaurants and other supporters who believed in this project. Please read the statement below.
“As a resident of East Harlem, and a resident of West Harlem for 13 years, I am honored to have been approached to create a public work here in Harlem. This last remaining slice of “real” New York is one of the few areas of Manhattan that resemble the New York I came to love when I got here in the early ’80’s. It is at once culturally vibrant, gritty and still, even in this age of intelligence driven authorities, a land that plays largely by its own rules. It is that, more than anything, that attracts me to this neighborhood and has compelled me to make my home here.
I was approached by The West Harlem Art Fund to create a large public work where 12th Avenue and 125th Street intersect. It was a lot of driving around the site and looking at the surrounding area before any ideas at all came to fruition. While the scale and scope of the project, apparent from the first moment of discussions, weren’t daunting, honoring the neighborhood with a work that would be both respectful of the environment visually, true to my own ethos as an artist, and interesting enough to add value to the neighborhood, became quite daunting. So I got quiet, meditated and let it come to me rather than me try to force it. Sure enough, emblazoned over the 125th Street arch of the viaduct was a great big “H.”
I hope that the “H” will both inspire, pay homage to, and show my consideration to a part of the world that is like no other. That I was asked to do this is symbolic of one of the greatest achievements in my career. It is with gratitude, humility and respect, that I undertake this project. It is my ultimate goal that this project will make one of the greatest places on this great planet even better, and if I achieve that, this project will have been an wild success.
For more info, go to http://www.thehinharlem.com/