Tuesday, April 30, 2013

20-foot-high sculpture (meeting point?) coming to Barclays Center oculus; savvy investment for arena promoters, as costs get ignored

In Humanity' in Arena's New Sculpture, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday on Bushwick-based sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard's planned a 20-foot-high work coming in September near the Barclays Center's entrance.

We don't quite know what'll look like:
The sculpture, named "Ona," was constructed first in cedar and now is being cast in bronze at a foundry in upstate New York. The name means "she" or "her" in Polish, the artist's first language.
"There's going to be, I hope, a kind of humanity in it," Ms. von Rydingsvard, 70 years old, said.
The sculptor eschews sketches and renderings, so what the final product will look like remains somewhat of a mystery. Many of her works have roughly textured, puzzle-like surfaces. This sculpture, the artist said, will have a surface that undulates like waves chasing each other in the sea.
A new meeting point?

The Journal reported:
David Berliner, COO of Barclays Center developer Forest City Ratner, commissioned the work. He said he hopes the sculpture will be "iconic and exuberant and hopeful," signaling that the arena isn't just a sports venue but a cultural center. Other artworks commissioned by Barclays Center include murals by Brooklyn-based artists Mickalene Thomas and José Parlá.
Ms. von Rydingsvard's work, he said, has a strength and heroicism that should complement the Barclays Center's muscular architecture, and beckon people emerging from the subway at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues. The 10,000-pound sculpture will stand in front of the arena's main entrance under the so-called oculus, a circular opening in a roof that juts over the plaza. "It will be a meeting place," he said. "I'll meet you by the sculpture."
The cost, and the value

That's a savvy move by Berliner and colleagues; for less than $1 million--the upper end for one of von Rydingsvard's works--they get to add an amenity to the arena, buff its reputation, and gain substantial publicity even five months before the sculpture's installed.

That helps distract from the delays in delivering benefits such as subsidized housing or the jobs that were supposed to come with the office tower looming over the arena at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.

Then again, the Wall Street Journal is not the toughest forum. "We are very keen on delivering on our promises," Berliner claimed in a brief separate profile recognizing his promotion from general counsel to Chief Operating Officer. Actually, they're not.

And, beyond this blog, no one's trying to calculate the value of the land Forest City Ratner got for free from the city, including--as evidence suggests--a city street for which they initially were expected to pay "fair market appraised value."

I estimated the savings at well over $100 million.

Other promotions: Burch, Cotton

The Commercial Observer reported:
“Like MaryAnne, I have known and worked with David for many years and he truly is the backbone of the company. Under his guidance all of the different divisions in the Company function in harmony, producing the wonderful projects that we build,” added Bruce Ratner, executive chairman, in the statement.
Also, today, FCRC announced Melissa Román Burch has been promoted to executive vice president of commercial and residential development. Additionally, Ashley Cotton has been promoted to senior vice president of external affairs and chief of staff to Ms. Gilmartin.

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