In her sculptures and wall works, Kathryn Andrews appropriates images from popular culture, often from American movies, television, and stock photography archives; she then alters and recontextualizes them into three-dimensional configurations to create new narratives where viewers are invited to rethink the images’ content in relation to their own bodies. Frequently, Andrews works with stainless steel and aluminum, polished to a mirrored finish, to further challenge the perception of reality and its depiction, and the ubiquitous photographic world that proliferates in advertising and on screen.
For the High Line, Andrews presents her first public art commission, responding to two contrasting aspects of the elevated park: its relationship to nearby billboards and to the natural landscape. Andrews describes the High Line’s environment as a “hyper-surreal image world,” composed of large-scale advertisements and commercial signs that surround park visitors as they stroll high above the bustling cityscape. Andrews notes, by contrast, that the High Line’s physical design offers visitors a chance to develop awareness of the body in relation to extreme natural weather conditions including intense winds, rain, snow, and sun.
Andrews’s first sculpture, Sunbathers I, is a towering box-like structure, silkscreened with a black-and-white stock image of a public beach sign that announces, “Beyond This Point You May Encounter Nude Sunbathers.” Installed at West 18th Street, the sculpture houses misting nozzles that spray water intermittently at passers-by. Placing this work on the High Line, where nudity is not allowed draws attention to the more risqué social mores displayed on nearby billboards. The second sculpture, Sunbathers II, installed under The Standard, High Line, is a large, horizontal aluminum box containing a giant fan and featuring a photograph of an ice cream cone. The fan’s movement is juxtaposed with the adjacent static image, mirroring the park itself.
Photos by Timothy Schenck.