Friday Photo: Attack of the 20-Foot Roses

(Photos: Paul Kasmin Gallery)

Record snowfalls have turned New York City into a pure white canvas for Will Ryman‘s bright pink and red rose sculptures, now in full bloom along Park Avenue between 57th and 67th Streets. The writer turned artist (who, as the son of Robert Ryman, knows a little something about all-white surfaces) created the monumental flowers as a kind of tribute to his hometown. “With these roses I wanted to do something that was larger than life and site-specific,” he said in a statement. “In my work I always try to combine fantasy with reality. In the case of ‘The Roses,’ I tried to convey New York City’s larger than life qualities through scale; creating blossoms which are imposing, humorous, and hopefully beautiful.”

For this, his first public art exhibition, Ryman used stainless steel, yacht-grade fiberglass resin, and automotive paint to create 38 giant pink and red roses that range in height from three to 25 feet. Each of the eight sturdy clusters harbors a similarly outsized brass ladybug, aphid, beetle, or bee. Meanwhile, melting snow will reveal 20 accompanying sculptures of individual rose petals, which have been “scattered” (as much as steel slabs can be) along the Park Avenue Mall between 63rd and 65th Streets. We suggest a Valentine’s Day stroll, “he-loves-me, he-loves-me-not”-style. On view until real buds can take over on June 1, “The Roses” is presented jointly by Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York City’s Department of Parks & Recreation, and the Fund for the Park Avenue Sculpture Committee.