This post also appears on the Bryant Park blog.
In the late 1960s the city began mounting art exhibitions in outdoor public spaces throughout Manhattan. Bryant Park's central location made it the perfect space for exhibiting large sculptures, and in the following years, several were displayed on the expansive lawn. One of the first was Kenneth Snelson's Needle Tower, as seen in the photo below with Sixth Avenue in the background. (This view is almost unrecognizable now, because the buildings that appear to be along Sixth now have larger buildings in front of them; the Bush Tower looks fantastic.)
|Needle Tower in Bryant Park, 1967. Photo: Parks Department|
Watch a computer animation of Needle Tower assembling itself along with several other examples of tensegrity on Snelson's youtube channel.
|Snelson with several smaller models including Needle Tower (center).|
Today, the tower stands outside the Hirshhorn Gallery in Washington DC.
New York City's commitment to public art continues today with the Art in the Parks Program.
Read more about public art exhibited in Bryant Park, including works by Mel Chin, George Rickey, Alexander Calder, Kate Gilmore, and Sheryl Oring.