Paula Hayes, “Gazing Globes”, 2015 (installation view in Madison Square Park, New York). Polycarbonate spheres and mixed media, 3 feet to 6 feet high. Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York. Photograph by Yasunori Matsui
For the next two months, Madison Square Park will be home to a fantastical new public art project by environmental artist Paula Hayes. Sprawled across the West Gavel area of the park, Gazing Globes is made up of eighteen terrarium orbs for visitors to peer into to experience miniature worlds. Instead of her usual live plant terrariums, Hayes has created tableaus made from recycled pieces of our ever-changing technology, giving visitors a glimpse into a theoretical future where old CDs are transformed into glittery dust.
Presented by the Madison Square Park Conservancy, Gazing Globes is Paula Hayes’ first outdoor sculpture exhibition. Meant toendure the fluctuation of the elements as the seasons change from winter to spring, the crystalline balls are mounted atop elegant pedestals to draw in visitors as they pass through the park. At night, the pieces are lit from within, creating a warm glow that can be seen from afar.
The glass globes are evocative of many familiar things — snow globes, American lawn decorations, and the crystal ball of a clairvoyant. Inside, however, Hayes gives a commentary of changing technology and the need for upcycling and recycling. The vignettes she has created transform vintage and obsolete parts into beautiful still-life arrangements. CDs have been pulverized into glitter dust, cranks and gears were turned into sparkling metals, and transparent vacuum tubes appear like other-worldly sculptures.
Gazing Globes is on display until April 19, 2015.