A four-and-a-half-ton swimming pool is coming to Fifth Avenue, but don’t get your bathing suit out just yet. Berlin-based creative duo Elmgreen & Dragset designed the unusual installation, entitled Van Gogh’s Ear, as an art piece that appears to pay homage to Vincent Van Gogh using an empty swimming pool flipped on its side to resemble the Dutch post-impressionist painter’s missing ear lobe. Created to inspire both puzzlement and delight among passersby, the surreal artwork will be installed this week at the entrance of the Channel Gardens at Rockefeller Center.


Van Gogh’s Ear at Rockefeller Center, Rockefeller Center, Public Art Fund, Tishman Speyer, Van Gogh’s Ear, Elmgreen & Dragset, Vincent Van Gogh, swimming pool, temporary art

Created in partnership with the Public Art Fund and Tishman Speyer, Van Gogh’s Ear features a cyan blue interior ringed by a white rim. A blue diving board protrudes down from the top of the sculpture, while a polished stainless steel ladder leads into the empty pool. The organic shape of the structure recalls 1950s-style pools popularly found in upper-class private homes in California.

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“It is as if an alien spaceship had landed in the midst of this prominent and busy environment,” said Elmgreen & Dragset about the sculpture’s strategic placement in a location famous as an intersection of fashion, commerce, tourism, business, and art. “One can dream of lazy days under the sun while surrounded by all the traffic and business going on at Rockefeller Plaza. The title Van Gogh’s Ear plays on the mythological versus the ordinary. We thought it was a perfect name for a swimming pool of this shape. It opens up the possibility for a different perception of the form itself. And like the myth of Van Gogh cutting off his ear in despair, the dislocated pool will hopefully make people wonder ‘why?’, and pursue their own reasoning behind this inexplicable scenario.”

Van Gogh’s Ear will be on view from April 13 to June 3, 2016. Following its presentation at the Rockefeller Center, the sculpture will also be put on display in China as organized by the K11 Art Foundation.

+ Elmgreen & Dragset

Via The Guardian

Images via Elmgreen & Dragset / Public Art Fund