Isa Genzken’s Monumental Steel Rose Rises in Zuccotti Park—Just in Time for the 10-Year Anniversary of the Financial Crisis

The 26-foot-tall rose is now occupying what was once the hub of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Isa Genzken Rose III (2016) (installation view). Photo: Timothy Schenck ; courtesy of Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne/New York.

Last week marked the 10-year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which helped spawn a financial meltdown and global fury at the Wall Street profiteers who let it happen. Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park became ground zero for that outrage when, in 2011, thousands of people descended on the financial district as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Now, a very different symbol is occupying the park. German artist Isa Genzken’s 26-foot-tall painted steel rose, Rose III (2016), has been permanently installed on the northwest corner, though it isn’t clear if the timing is intentional.

“The Rose is both an homage to a city that Genzken knows and loves, and a strong statement for unity and equality that every passerby in this city of millions can enjoy,” said Laura Hoptman, executive director of the Drawing Center, in a statement. “It is simultaneously a reflection of the empathy of the artist as well as the humanity of its spectators. Like all great art is.”

The installation is a collaborative effort between Galerie Buchholz, David Zwirner, Hauser & Wirth, and Genzken’s longtime collector and supporter Lonti Ebers, who generously donated the work to real estate comply Brookfield Properties, which owns and operates the park. Senior managing partner and chairman of Brookfield Properties called the work “a captivating addition to Zuccotti Park and the landscape of Lower Manhattan.”

For almost four decades, Genzken has been exploring the links between architecture and urban space in her outdoor sculptures. “To me, New York had a direct link with sculpture,” Genzken said in a statement. “[It] is a city of incredible stability and solidity.”

Genzken’s monumental works have been installed in other major urban centers as well. An edition of her first Rose, executed in the 1990s, is permanently on view at Roppongi Hills in Tokyo, while an edition of her Rose II is installed in the sculpture garden of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Another work, Two Orchids, stands in New York’s Central Park.


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