Art in Tribeca: Medusa gets her man

An extreme version of victim-shaming perpetuated in classical mythology has been reinterpreted by an Argentine-Italian sculptor and adopted by the #MeToo movement in a statue on view at Collect Pond Park. “Medusa With the Head of Perseus” by Luciano Garbati is so frank I found it startling. And for a minute I didn’t even recognize the snakes — I just thought it was a woman who had cut off a man’s head. And that is clearly the point. (Thanks to J. for the heads up. Get it?)

Of course just the title alone tells you that the sculptor has turned the myth on its head too: the way the Greeks wrote it, Perseus decapitates Medusa therefore ending her reign of terror, where she turned all caught in her gaze to stone. But Medusa wasn’t always a monster. She gained those powers, and the snakes for hair, after being cursed by Athena: the goddess was angry that Poseidon had raped the mortal Medusa in Athena’s temple, and took it out on the maiden.

Garbati first created the sculpture in 2008 in resin. In 2018, he uploaded an image of it to Facebook where it became a meme in support of #metoo. New York artist Bek Andersen encountered it there, tracked down Garbati and the two plotted to bring the work to NYC. The piece now stands 7 feet tall and was cast in bronze Carbon Sculpt Studios in Red Hook.

To promote the work, Andersen founded the MWTH Project — a riff on myth — and showed the sculpture along with several other pieces challenging classical themes last year in Soho. It’s displayed now as part of the Parks Department’s Art in the Parks program, on view until April 2021. (Smaller models of the sculpture in resin are already sold out.)

The two artists wanted the sculpture to be in a public space, and in working with the Parks Department, liked the connection to the courthouses when considering the theme of justice. The the Weinstein trial was not planned, but a major bonus.

 

3 Comments

  1. When I first saw this, I loved the stairs of the random passer byes and now what I’ve also noticed is the candles placed at her feet to honor the killing.

    I love New York.

  2. She is HOT.

    I want my next girlfriend to wear a Medusa wig ; )

  3. Wow. I have to go see her. Gorgeous powerful sculpture.

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