UPDATEx2: Manhattan Sentinels leave their posts; will return; artist dies at 97

Sonia Stock sent over these pictures, below, of the dismantling of “Manhattan Sentinels,” the sculptures installed in the mid ’90s by artist Beverly Pepper at 26 Federal Plaza. Pepper — who is now 97 — is a Brooklyn native and Pratt grad and does monumental, site-specific steel and iron pieces. I’ve tried to figure out why and what the plan is — so far I’ve asked the Manhattan BP, DCAS and the Public Art Fund (on that last one, just a stab, even though it was not their project) — and none of them had any info on the sculptures. Next up: Marlborough Gallery, who represents Pepper. Or maybe someone here has a clue…

UPDATE: I posted this at 5a on Feb. 5; The Times posted its obit of Pepper later that day. The obit writer Margalit Fox described her as “an acclaimed American sculptor whose work was suffused with a quicksilver lightness that belied its gargantuan scale.”

This is significant public art, and should not be on the move unless it is being restored.

UPDATE 2: From Dale Lanzone, representing the Beverly Pepper Foundation: “26 Federal Plaza’s Plaza is being re-waterproofed, Beverly Pepper’s Manhattan Sentinels have been removed for the duration of the waterproofing project and will be reinstalled when the project is complete. The sculptures are now in storage in New Jersey.”



  1. She died today. Almost a premonition.

  2. I hope they do not go to sculpture heaven after having been removed — like Richard Lippold’s great “Orpheus and Apollo” at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, where the great public space they occupied — one of New York’s glories — will now be stuffed with offices.

  3. Rewaterproofing the Plaza?? Is that their excuse today? I heard the Plaza was in danger of collapsing. I guess that’s their story and they are sticking to it.