High Line Art presents the second High Line Plinth commission, Untitled (drone) by artist Sam Durant, which will be on view starting in May 2021. This large-scale fiberglass sculpture in the shape of an abstracted drone atop a 25-foot-tall steel pole continues High Line Art’s mission of presenting new, powerful, thought-provoking artworks that generate and amplify some of today’s most important conversations.
With this work, Durant seeks to make visible the intentionally obscured drone warfare perpetuated by the US, and to remind the public that drones and surveillance are a tragic and pervasive presence in the daily lives of many living outside—and within—the United States. Since it was selected over three years ago, Untitled (drone) has only increased in relevance. Over the past months, we have witnessed not only an escalation in international drone warfare but also a vertiginous increase in domestic surveillance carried out by military drones employed by US Customs and Border Protection and ongoing surveillance of activists by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local law enforcement agencies. At the same time, drones are employed daily for humanitarian purposes, such as delivering supplies and medicine to isolated locations, to survey mine fields, and to tame wild fires that have ravaged landscapes.
Along with Simone Leigh’s Brick House, which has been displayed since 2019, Durant’s work was selected from a shortlist of 12 artworks—narrowed from over 50 total submissions—proposed in 2016 for the first and second High Line Plinth commissions.
An extensive public engagement program for Untitled (drone) will be offered in conjunction with the sculpture’s presentation.
Sam Durant was born in 1961 in Seattle, Washington and lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Recent new projects and solo exhibitions have been presented internationally at the ARoS Museum, Aarhus, Denmark (2020); Blum & Poe, Los Angeles (2020); Paula Cooper Gallery, New York (2020); Library Street Collective, Detroit (2019); Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis (2015); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles (2014); and Museo d’Arte Contemporanea (MACRO), Rome, Italy (2013). Notable public commissions include The Meeting House, a Trustees Art in Public Places project, Concord, Massachusetts (2016); Labyrinth, Mural Arts, Philadelphia (2015), and What #isamuseum, The Getty Center, Los Angeles (2013). His work has been featured in group exhibitions at Copenhagen Contemporary, Denmark (2020); Historisches Museum Frankfurt/Main, Frankfurt, Germany (2019); The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles (2016); Fundación/Colección Jumex, Mexico City, Mexico (2013); and Museum of Modern Art, New York (2011). His work has been featured in international exhibitions including dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel, Germany (2012) and the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2004). His work is represented in major collections worldwide, including Tate, London, England; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent, Belgium.
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Major support for the High Line Plinth is provided by members of the High Line Plinth Committee and contemporary art leaders committed to realizing major commissions and engaging in the public success of the Plinth: Shelley Fox Aarons and Philip E. Aarons, Jennifer and Jonathan Allan Soros, Elizabeth Belfer, Suzanne Deal Booth, Fairfax Dorn, Steve Ells, Kerianne Flynn, Andy and Christine Hall, Hermine Riegerl Heller and David B. Heller, J. Tomilson and Janine Hill, The Holly Peterson Foundation, Annie Hubbard and Harvey Schwartz, Miyoung Lee and Neil Simpkins, Dorothy Lichtenstein, Amanda and Don Mullen, Douglas Oliver and Sherry Brous, Mario Palumbo and Stefan Gargiulo, Susan and Stephen Scherr, Susan and David Viniar, and Anonymous.