Virginia Overton's Parked Pickup

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Author: 
Kat Widing
The artist (bottom center) installing her High Line Commission Untitled. Photo by Friends of the High Line.
 

With less than a month left to see Virginia Overton’s beloved pickup truck before it says its goodbyes, we thought this was a perfect time to spotlight Overton’s High Line Commission in relation to her prolific career.

Read more after the break.

Tennessee-born, Brooklyn-based artist Virginia Overton creates site-specific installations by repurposing raw materials and objects, draining them of their original use value and imbuing them with artistic value. “I think the roughness of my work comes from the fact that I grew up on a farm,” says Overton, “you learn to use and reuse the same materials in a pretty thrifty way.” For her installation on the High Line, Overton filled the bed of her own pickup truck with brick-and-mortar, stripping the truck’s purpose as a mode of transportation.

The theme of repurposed transportation mirrors the history of the High Line itself, as a public park built over a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. When the elevated rail line ceased operation, many of the tunnels previously used by the trains were sealed up using brick-and-mortar construction just like Overton’s truck bed (if you look carefully, you can still see one of these tunnels at the Northern Spur Preserve on the High Line at West 16th Street).

Pickup trucks have played a prominent role in Overton’s work throughout her career; she road-tripped from Virginia to Tennessee and collected discarded materials along the highway. She has also illuminated her parked pickup in a gallery in Texas and encouraged the audience to congregate as if at a tailgate.

On view through August 8th only, don’t miss Overton’s hidden gem Untitled next to the High Line, on the Edison ParkFast stacked parking lot at West 20th Street at 10th Avenue. The pickup truck can be viewed from above by standing at the top of the staircase attached to the High Line at West 20th Street, from the side of the installation by standing on the High Line, and from below by standing on the street.

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The artist (left) with Cecilia Alemani, the Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Curator & Director of High Line Art. Photo by Friends of the High Line.
 
Installation view of Untitled from the High Line at West 20th Street. Photo by Friends of the High Line.