Photo by Timothy Schenck
An iconic symbol of freedom wears a new face
High Line Art Announcement You know who I amcommissioned by the artist Paula Pivi. The work is a full-scale bronze replica of the Statue of Liberty wearing various cartoonish masks. The masks are stylized portraits of individuals whose personal experiences of freedom are directly tied to the United States. The masks will change every two months, representing six different people during the exhibition. The artwork can be seen on the High Line at 16th Street from April 2022 to March 2023. You Know Who I Am is curated by Cecilia Alemani, Donald R. Mullen Director and Chief Curator of High Line Art and Melanie Kress, High Line Art Associate Curator.
You Know Who I Am is a scale replica of the Statue of Liberty, cast in weathered bronze, standing twenty-three feet above the High Line on the Northern Spur Reserve. From this vantage point, visitors can also see the original Lady Liberty to the south in New York Harbor. Pivi’s sculpture was made at the Fonderia Artistica Battaglia, a bronze casting foundry established in Milan in 1913. This work is in direct line with the original sculpture by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi. To create a scale replica, Pivi worked from a historic cast of the original bronze model created by Bartholdi himself, which is now on display at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.
The six emoji-inspired masks are playful and colorful, contrasting the clean, light portraiture of the custom digital cartoons with the posed monumentality of the statue. Each mask represents an individual whose experience of freedom is tied to the United States, providing the sense that anyone could be represented in the statue’s symbol. For this commission, Pivi, an Italian artist who has lived in Alaska since 2006, was inspired by her family’s experience. Pivi’s son was living stateless in India when he adopted Pivi and her husband. The three of them endured a four-year legal battle in India to bring the boy home, a journey that ended with his son being granted US citizenship. During this struggle, the Statue of Liberty became an invaluable beacon for Pivi’s son, a symbol of the human rights and freedom that could be possible for him in the United States.
For You Know Who I Am, Pivi expands on her family’s experience, portraying in the masks five other individuals whose freedom has been tied to the United States, and inviting them to share their own stories. For some, their story may be of having gained or hoping to gain greater freedoms by entering the United States; for others, the United States may represent a denied dream of freedom. The stories of the six people pictured, starting with Pivi’s son, will be available to visitors on the High Line’s website. You Know Who I Am engages in conversations about the legal and symbolic freedoms available in the United States and how those freedoms are sought by people living around the world. In Pivi’s engagement with this subject, the artist also considers America’s limits to freedom.
“Paola Pivi is an artist who challenges us all to think about boundaries and categories in new ways,” says Cecilia Alemani, Director and Chief Curator of Donald R. Mullen, Jr. of High Line Art. “We are thrilled to share You Know Who I Am on the High Line in a city and neighborhood that has welcomed so many people from around the world and has a direct connection to the Statue of Liberty and the port entry point. from New York. “
The title You know who I am was designed by Karma Culture Brothers.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Paola Pivi’s interdisciplinary artistic practice combines the familiar with the strange. She is known for transposing live animals and commonplace objects – ranging from helicopters to cappuccinos – into unexpected settings. Some of his best-known striking paintings include Untitled (Zebras), two zebras standing on a snowy mountain – shown on the High Line billboard in 2012 – as well as 84 flying trainers of goldfish and a gallery full of polar bears feathered frolic in highlighterbright hues. In all of her work, Pivi uses strategies of displacement and overabundance to disorient and displace viewers’ expectations of rules, categories, and boundaries. Its parallel universes offer opportunities to shift perspectives on divisions we take for granted.
Paola Pivi (born in 1971 in Milan, Italy) lives and works in Anchorage, Alaska. Recent solo exhibitions have been presented at institutions such as the Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado (2021); Arken Museum of Modern Art, Ishøj, Denmark (2020); The Bass Museum, Miami Beach, Miami, Florida (2018); Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia (2018); La Rinascente, Milan, Italy (2017); Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, TX (2016); FRAC Burgundy, Dijon, France (2014); National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2014); Witte de With, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2013); and Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2012). Public solo commissions include High Line Art, New York, New York (2012) and Public Art Fund, New York, New York (2012). Notable group exhibitions include Io dico Io – I say I, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Rome, Italy (2021); Trittico, Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy (2016); and Senso Unico, MoMA PS1, New York, New York (2007). Major international exhibitions include the Yokohama Triennale, Japan (2018) and the 48th Venice Biennale, Italy (1999).
ABOUT HIGH LINE ART
Founded in 2009, High Line Art commissions and produces a wide range of artwork on the High Line, including site-specific commissions, exhibitions, performances, video programs and a series of panel interventions. display. Led by Cecilia Alemani, Director and Chief Curator of Donald R. Mullen, Jr. of High Line Art, and presented by High Line, the arts program invites artists to think about creative ways to engage with architecture, unique history and design. of the park and to foster a productive dialogue with the surrounding neighborhood and urban landscape. For more information on High Line Art, please visit thehighline.org/art.
ABOUT THE HIGH LINE
The High Line is both a non-profit organization and a public park located on the West Side of Manhattan. Through our work with communities on and off the High Line, we are dedicated to reinventing public spaces to create connected and healthy neighborhoods and cities.
Built on an elevated historic rail line, the High Line was always meant to be more than a park. You can stroll through the gardens, view artwork, catch a performance, enjoy food or drink, or connect with friends and neighbors, all while enjoying a unique perspective of New York City.
Nearly 100% of our annual budget comes from donations. The High Line is owned by the City of New York and we operate under a license agreement with NYC Parks.
For more information, visit thehighline.org and follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram.
ABOUT THE FONDERA ARTISTICA BATTAGLIA
The Fonderia Artistica Battaglia aims to share its historical expertise in artistic bronze, by introducing contemporary artists to the practice. You Know Who I Am is Pivi’s first work cast in bronze; the Battaglia team guided her through the manufacturing process.
Main support for High Line Art comes from Amanda and Don Mullen. Major support for High Line Art is provided by Shelley Fox Aarons and Philip E. Aarons, The Brown Foundation, Inc., and Charina Endowment Fund. Project support is provided by Charlotte Feng Ford. Additional support is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. High Line Art is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council, under the direction of President Adrienne Adams.
Paola Pivi, You know who I am, is made possible, in part, thanks to an in-kind donation from Matteo Visconti, Fonderia Artistica Battaglia, Milan, and with the support of Perrotin and Massimo De Carlo; with thanks to the engineering company Pro Iter, Milan.