To mark its 30th anniversary, Liberty Science Center is launching an exhibit featuring installations by two artists designed to merge the realms of art and science: Argentine conceptual artist Leandro Erlich and Brooklyn-based artist and Pioneer Works founderDustin Yellin. The show will be unveiled at a private opening on the evening of Saturday, April 1. Erlich will present a full-scale recreation of a four-story New York City brownstone, and Yellin will offer a large piece that weaves together forces of nature and technology. Erlich’s installation will remain on display through the summer and Yellin’s for the next year.
The programming is intended to broaden the scope of what science museums offer. “Science, too often, is presented as a series of results, as opposed to the long, torturous process of someone toiling away in a lab for days, months, years on end to prove an educated hunch they had,” said LSC president and CEO Paul Hoffman. “Such processes are more often associated with art. … By bringing this new art program to the Center, we hope to break down this boundary and further our pursuit of inspiring the next generation of innovators by emphasizing imagination and inspiration.”
Liberty Science Center recruited Leandro Erlich to create The Building, bringing his acclaimed Bâtimentseries to the New York area for the first time. Known for installations built at architectural scale, Erlich has brought this series of monumental pieces to cities such as Paris, London, and Buenos Aires, and Donetsk. Challenging the laws of gravity, Erlich places a model of a building on the ground, allowing “spect-actors,” as he refers to them, to interact with the model, draping themselves across walls and pretending to hang off a balcony; a giant mirror, standing over the model at an angle creates the illusion of the scene’s veracity. Each piece in the series reflects the architectural vernacular of the locale in which it is installed. Accordingly, the entrance to the Science Center will feature a New York City brownstone replete with a deli and fire escapes .
Alongside Erlich’s work, LSC will present Dustin Yellin’s 10,000-pound The Politics of Eternity. The chevron-shaped work, in which Yellin embeds paint and snippets of various print media in multiple sheets of laminated glass, “crystallizes the artist’s inquiry into humanity and the world it inhabits as a collection of enmeshed networks.” The piece tells a story in three narrative acts. The first depicts a community gathered around an ancient totem; the second shows a nascent society donning jet-packs and buzzing around a techno-metropolis built around a rocket ship. These two acts bookend a set of lower panels representing the march of modernity as tall ships and supertankers float in a central sea fed on both ends by waterfalls cascading out from the other two parts. Constructed with the meticulous intricacy characteristic of Yellin’s practice, the piece took 20,000 hours to complete.
Liberty Science Center, which is located in Liberty State Park, houses the largest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere, 12 museum exhibition halls, a live animal collection with 110 species, giant aquariums, a 3D theater, live simulcast surgeries, a tornado-force wind simulator, K-12 classrooms and labs, and teacher-development programs. Since opening its doors in 1993, it has become the most-visited science museum in the New York metro region.