Park update: The High Line – Moynihan Connector and the High Line’s Coach Passage and Spur at 30th St. & 10th Ave. will be closed on Wednesday, September 20.

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NYC native plants

Delve deeper into the character, beauty, and utility of the important native plants that call the park home.

Photo by Timothy Schenck

Julia Phillips

Observer, Observed

September 2022 – December 2023

On the High Line at 26th Street

Julia Phillips works in ceramics and metal to create objects and scenes that are intimately connected to the body. Her sculptures propose support structures for the human form while emphasizing its absence. She makes impressions of the body in the form of casts of limbs, handprints, and other corporeal traces. Though evocative of physical functions and experiences, her work highlights power relations between individuals— and between individuals and institutions—functioning as a metaphor for social and psychological experiences. For example, for her recent Observer II, Phillips cites Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window as a source of inspiration. The sculpture, a set of ceramic binoculars on a stainless steel stand, questions the responsibility inherent in the act of observing, whether in an intimate situation or an anonymous one, like lurking on social media.

For the High Line, Phillips expands on this previous work with Observer, Observed, playing on publicly accessible binocular towers commonly found at tourist and scenic destinations. Phillips crafts a custom shape set of binoculars, cast in bronze and attached to an adjustable metal support structure, installed on the Flyover at 26th Street. Visitors can interact with the sculpture by looking through the binoculars onto the adjacent streets and buildings—while a nearby LED screen transmits live footage of the visitor’s eyes, captured by a camera inside the binoculars. The title of the work, Observer, Observed, refers to the power dynamics at play between perception and spectatorship in public space.

Organized by Cecilia Alemani, Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Director & Chief Curator of High Line Art.

Artist bio

Julia Phillips (b. 1985, Hamburg, Germany) lives and works in Chicago, Illinois and Berlin, Germany. Recent solo exhibitions of her work have been featured at institutions including Kunstverein Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany (2019) and MoMA PS1, Long Island City, New York (2018. Her work has been featured in notable group exhibitions including The Milk of Dreams, 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (2022),  Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America, New Museum, New York, New York (2021); Smashing into my heart, The Renaissance Society, Chicago, Illinois (2021); Feminist Histories: Artists After 2000, Museum of Art of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (2019); We don’t need another hero, 10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (2018), 2018 Triennial: Songs for Sabotage, New Museum, New York, New York (2018); and We Go As They, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, New York (2017).


Lead support for High Line Art comes from Amanda and Don Mullen.

Major support is provided by Shelley Fox Aarons and Philip E. Aarons, The Brown Foundation Inc., and Charina Endowment Fund.

Program support is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

High Line Art is supported, in part, with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council, under the leadership of Speaker Adrienne Adams.