Groundline Sculpture Debuts in Manhattan

May 29, 2013

Rope sculpture by Orly Genger, Red, Yellow and Blue, officially debuted in Madison Square Park, at 23 Madison Avenue, New York City on May 1.

The 100,000-lb sculpture is the culmination of a year’s worth of work by the artist and features sinking groundline procured by the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation (GOMLF) from the inshore and offshore lobster and crab fisheries. More than 40 fishermen contributed rope that would have otherwise been disposed of, bringing in their old, used or retired groundlines for fifty cents per pound, or about a fifth of its original cost.

Madison Square Park Conservancy contracted with GOMLF in late 2011 to procure the rope for the commissioned artwork. Project Manager Laura Ludwig arranged collections in Machiasport, Milbridge, Harrington, Hancock, Rockland, and Harpswell, Maine; Georgetown, Westport, Dartmouth, New Bedford, Fall River, and Sandwich, Massachusetts; and Wakefield, Rhode Island. The rope was collected at transfer stations or at the home of the fisherman, and was weighed, boxed and shipped in seven deliveries to the artist’s studio in Brooklyn, NY.

After working on the sculpture for over a year, it required a full week for Genger and the Madison Square Park Conservancy team to install the artwork on site. The massive sculpture is literally thousands of feet of crocheted rope runners, hand-woven by the artist and her team of interns, painted in primary colors and stacked in walls that curve and undulate in three separate areas of the 6-acre park. The layers are secured by wire and steel poles sunk into the ground, so that each sculpture is solid and immobile, allowing people to interact with it safely.

Genger has worked with rope as her medium for over a decade, and previously used 20,000 pounds of rope collected by GOMLF through the Bottom Line Project to create Big Boss, which was installed at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in 2009-2010. The rope from that sculpture was re-used in Red, Yellow and Blue.

Red, Yellow and Blue will remain in Madison Square Park through September, after which it will be installed for a year at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts.


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