About Those Naked Men at Lever House


We’ve mused on what a Lever House-themed fragrance might smell like (“a mesmerizing murmur of fresh lemongrass and tea”), but what’s with those naked fellows now milling about the lobby, where the Hirstian animal carcasses wintered? Well, for starters, the men are made out of polyurethane and based on the body of artist Richard Dupont. Each has been manipulated and subtly distorted so that a complete figure can only be seen from a single vantage point. “The viewer walks around the figures and gets all these different perspectives as the surfaces change,” Dupont told Daniel Kunitz of The Village Voice recently. “A lot of people see them and think they’re flat, then realize they’re objects–that’s a hard thing for the brain to process immediately. But it’s not just retinal, it’s also physiological: There’s a queasiness, an anxiety caused by the brain not being able to understand the two things at once.”

The exhibition, entitled “Terminal Stage” and on view through May 3, is Dupont’s first public art piece. He created it specifically for Lever House, which in recent years has made its glass-enclosed lobby gallery a 24-hour showplace for intriguing installations by the likes of Hirst, E.V. Day, and Barnaby Furnas. The cool kids over at Cool Hunting have just posted a video interview (below) with the gallery’s curator, Richard Marshall, who mentions plans to organize an international traveling exhibition of the Lever House art collection and publish a book about it. As for the Dupont work, Marshall notes, “You don’t often see nine naked men standing in a lobby.”