Hanna Liden Brings Some Terrifyingly Large Bagels to New York

Claes Oldenburg would be proud.

Photo: Aria Isadora/BFA.

If you’re strolling along the Hudson River on a hot day this summer, you might notice something a bit unusual: two large stacks of bagels.

Fear not, for a giant hasn’t abandoned his breakfast—it’s Everything, Hanna Liden‘s aptly-named homage to New York, nestled in Hudson River Park and the nearby Ruth Wittenberg Plaza.

The popular snack has a surprising significance for Liden. When the artist moved to New York from Stockholm in 1998, she quickly encountered her first bagel.

“Moving here and staying might be my biggest life choice,” she told artnet News via email. She says the bagel is “a great icon of urban living.”

Photo: Aria Isadora/BFA.

Hanna Liden, Everything.
Photo: Courtesy of Aria Isadora/BFA.

Liden sees the food as both a cultural and metaphorical symbol of the city: “The bagel—a circle with no beginning and no end—is evocative of the eternal cycle of city life. The black spray paint is a romantic tribute to the darkness and grime, which are essential and beautiful characteristics of our city.”

And yes, the installation includes everything bagels—along with sesame seed, plain, and what appears to be pumpernickel. But despite finding inspiration in the doughy treats, Liden claims to rarely dine on them anymore. “I had lots of bagels in the past,” she says.

The artist, who created miniature representations of the sculptures for the Art Production Fund gala in April, isn’t the only one who has recently found inspiration in bagels. Multimedia artist Chloe Wise has received attention from both the fashion and art sectors for her tongue-in-cheek representations of designer bags as various breakfast foods, some of which were on display this year at NADA.

Hanna Liden with Everything. Photo: Aria Isadora/BFA.

Hanna Liden with Everything.
Photo: Courtesy of Aria Isadora/BFA.

But like her other works, which include photography and sculpture, Everything is rife with contradictions: simultaneously beautiful and melancholy, fascinating and mundane, a depiction of a delicious food that is, through its large scale, unappetizing. Claes Oldenburg would be proud.

Drawing inspiration from both the Pop and punk realms, Liden has developed an aesthetic all her own, and this is New York’s first chance to see it outside a gallery setting. “I think my goal is always to be funny and the rest is unavoidable extra baggage,” Liden explains.

Photo: Aria Isadora/BFA.

Hanna Liden, Everything.
Photo: Courtesy of Aria Isadora/BFA.

Everything by Hanna Liden is sponsored by Kiehl’s and produced by the Art Production Fund. It will be on display at Hudson River Park from July 20–October 20, 2015 and Ruth Wittenberg Plaza from July 20–August 24, 2015.

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