Two Japanese Artists’ Sculptures on Display at Riverside Park South

If you take a stroll along the Hudson at Riverside Park South, you may notice several large-scale sculptures dotting the landscape. The sculptures, which were revealed in June, are part of Model to Monument: Creating Art for Public Spaces by the Art Students League of New York in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

Now in the fourth year of a five-year program, Model to Monument teaches artists how to create contemporary sculptures for public spaces. Of the seven women chosen to display their works, two are from Japan: Natsuki Takauji and Minako Yoshino.

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“Window” by Natsuki Takauji

Tokyo-born Takauji’s work, “Window,” is a giant swing made of steel, cast resin, and plastic that passersby are encouraged to use. One “swinger” remarked that the structure “looks like a giant gecko head” with its bulging white spheres on either side.

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“Window” by Natsuki Takauji

Emily Frost quotes Takauji in DNAinfo as saying that her swing is “a metaphor for life. You are always going from place to place.”

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“Window” by Natsuki Takauji

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“Window” by Natsuki Takauji

The resin and plastic look a bit weathered after only a short time in Riverside Park South, but “Window” does offer a peaceful ride.

Minako Yoshino studies marble carving at the Art Students League of New York, and her contribution to the Model to Monument project is “Lovers,” a 600-pound statue made of bonded Carrara marble, black granite, and blue stones.

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“Lovers” by Minako Yoshino

The two lovers locked in an embrace pays homage to Izanagi and Izanami, Japanese mythological characters who created Japan and her gods.

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“Lovers” by Minako Yoshino

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“Lovers” by Minako Yoshino

Yoshino invites people to write messages of love on the pieces of stone that are scattered at the base of her sculpture, which stands close to the Hudson, a place that the artist would like to become known as a romantic spot for other lovers in the city.

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“Lovers” by Minako Yoshino

“Window” and “Lovers” are located in Riverside Park South at W. 61st Street and W. 63rd Streets, respectively. You can interact with these works until May 2015.