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Photo by Beverly Israely

El Anatsui

Broken Bridge II

November 2012 – October 2013

Western wall next to the High Line between West 21st and West 22nd Streets

November 21, 2012 – October 31, 2013

Considered one of the foremost contemporary artists of his generation, El Anatsui is known for his intricate sculptures, which are grand in scale and composed of recycled materials mostly collected near his home in Nigeria. Much of the artist’s work consists of metallic bottle caps, which are culled from discarded Nigerian liquor bottles and woven together with copper wire. These three-dimensional paintings evoke the economic and cultural traditions and histories of West Africa, and the artist’s choice of materials engages viewers to reflect on the role that consumer waste plays in changing the parameters of globalization.

For the High Line, the artist presents his largest work to date, an awe-inspiring sculpture that hangs on an outdoor wall next to the park between West 21st and West 22nd Streets. Originally shown in Paris during the 2012 Triennale, the work was reconfigured by the artist for this unique location. Made of recycled pressed tin and mirrors woven together, Broken Bridge II creates a stunning visual of wave-like patterns and folds, evoking traditional practices of tapestry weaving, while reflecting the surrounding landscape of the High Line. At 37 feet high and 157 feet wide, the installation is viewable from the High Line and the sidewalks along West 21st and West 22nd Streets, surprising park visitors and pedestrians with its monumental scale.

(1,3,4) Photo by Austin Kennedy; (2,5) Photo by Ken Goebel; (6) Photo courtesy of Friends of the High Line. 

Artist bio

El Anatsui (b. 1944, Ghana) lives and works in Nigeria. Major international touring exhibitions include the retrospectives Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui, at the Brooklyn Museum, New York (February 8 – August 4, 2013), and the Akron Art Museum, Akron, Ohio (June 17 – October 7, 2012); El Anatsui: When I Last Wrote To You About Africa (2010 – 2012);A Fateful Journey: Africa in the Works of El Anatsui (2010 – 2011); and El Anatsui: Gawu (2003 – 2008). Select group exhibitions include Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2011); Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2010); Bass Museum of Art, Miami (2010); Institut Valencia D’Art Modern, Valencia (2009); Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2008); Museum of Arts and Design, New York (2008); Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2007); PS 1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (2007); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2005); National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC (2001); and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (1990). Select biennial exhibitions include La Triennale: Intense Proximity, Paris (2012); Moscow Biennale (2009); Prospect.1, New Orleans (2008); 52nd Venice Biennale (2007); 5th Gwangju Biennale (2004); 1st Johannesburg Biennale (1995); 5th Havana Biennale (1994); and 44th Venice Biennale (1990). In 2008, Anatsui received the Visionaries Artist Award from the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. He is also a laureate of the 2009 Prince Claus Award.


High Line Art is made possible by Donald R. Mullen, Jr. and Vital Projects Fund, Inc. High Line Art is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Special thanks to Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.