Higher Ground

New artwork has been installed on The High Line since last year, a mixed-media piece by Valerie Hegarty entitled Autumn on the Hudson River with Branches. As Hegarty describes it, her piece will "appear as if nature has become the artist, altering the idealized image of the early American wilderness to be a more layered representation of the area and times today."

Here is what the High Line website has to say, Valerie Hegarty's artwork often poses as artifacts of art history gone awry. Through the combination of real and fabricated components, Hegarty leaves the viewer to wonder at the veracity of the transformation. For the High Line, she will create and install a work that imagines a nineteenth century Hudson River School landscape painting that has been left outdoors, exposed to the elements. Hegarty’s painting is based on Jasper Francis Cropsey’s painting, a bucolic landscape that shows none of the affects of the Industrial Revolution. Hegarty’s canvas is tattered and frayed, and the partially exposed stretcher bars appear to be morphing into tree branches, as if reverting back to their natural state.
Curator Lauren Ross notes, "Since the nineteenth century, the Hudson has been associated both with Arcadian beauty and industrial development, perceptions both simultaneous and contradictory. Today one can view fading remnants of the river as an active shipping port, as well as recent attempts to return it to a more ‘natural’ state through the development of park areas and pedestrian walking paths, including the High Line itself.

Autumn on the Hudson River, Jasper Francis Cropsey, 1860


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