Heather Nicol’s ‘Soft Spin’ Sculpture Installation Sings at the Winter Garden

Six colored skirt sculptures brighten the Winter Garden Atrium.

The newly opened Brookfield Place, formerly (and still informally) known as the World Financial Center, has more to offer than luxury shops and a high-end food court: through April 24, visitors can also enjoy Soft Spin, a colorful new site-specific art installation by Toronto-based artist Heather Nicol. Check out our interview, above, with the artist.

“We wanted to do something really grand and colorful that would really take up the entire space” Debra Simon, the vice president and art director of Arts Brookfield, which commissioned the project for the occasion of the grand opening, told artnet News.

With six brightly colored flowing skirt-like sculptures hovering in the cavernous Winter Garden Atrium space, above rows of tropical palm trees and a massive marble staircase, Soft Spin certainly fits the bill for grand public art, even amid New York’s busy season. It is a piece that is at once visually and aurally engaging, with a surprising degree of subtlety for all of its roughly 750 yards of fabric.

“As you move about the space, each one has its own voice,” Nicol told artnet News of the suspended, parachute-like forms. She worked with six singers to record the hours-long audio component for the installation, a unique coral arrangement that incorporates Broadway show tunes and is led by the central pink skirt, which Nicol has dubbed “Sarah.”

The speaker system has been calibrated to adjust to the room’s ambient conditions, and Nicol has chosen fabric that looks good in a variety of lighting conditions, so there’s no wrong time to come see Soft Spin.

“I’m really excited about all the different ways that people can come and move through the space and encounter the work,” Nicol exclaimed. “It’s a place of transition; people are walking through.” Hopefully, they will stop and look up.

Heather Nicol’s Soft Spin is on view at the Winter Garden in Brookfield Place, March 26–April 24.


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