Throwback Thursday: High Line Art's First Group Exhibition

Did you know that Friends of the High Line has been presenting public art since the opening of the park in 2009? Over the past six years, High Line Art has commissioned over 120 projects by 150 national and international artists. This program has broadened the audience for contemporary art, making museum-quality art available for free to the almost 7 million yearly visitors to the park. All the while, this thought-provoking, surprising, and engaging artwork is curated to make the most of the unique setting provided by the High Line.

Today we look back at High Line Art's first group exhibition – and arguably one of visitors' favorites – Lilliput, which was on view from April 2012 through March 2013. This exhibition turned the notion of public art on its head. When you think of traditional public art, some of the first things to come to mind are monumental sculptures, like Anish Kapoor's immense Cloud Gate in Chicago (also known as the "bean") and Robert Indiana's iconic LOVE. Instead, High Line Art Director & Chief Curator Cecilia Alemani drew inspiration from Jonathan Swift's book Gulliver's Travels, conjuring a miniature-scaled magical world populated by fairy tale creatures, mysterious idols, and dreamlike landscapes.

The photo above is of one of the six artworks presented as part of Lilliput. This tiny sculpture of a young man wearing a black leather jacket and tight pants by artist Tomoaki Suzuki was called Carson – after the person who modeled for it. Carson garnered lots of love from visitors who appreciated his photo-op-worthy tiny stature and punk-rock vibe. While this artwork – like all of High Line Art's commissions – was only up for a year, Carson still holds a place in our hearts.

Read more about Lilliput. Or discover all of High Line Art's projects from the first 5 years in their book, High Art: Public Art on the High Line, available in the High Line Shop.

Photo by Austin Kennedy

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