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Anish Kapoor Is Bringing a Giant Whirlpool to Brooklyn

The Public Art Fund is commissioning the mesmerizing sculpture as part of its 40th anniversary programming.

by Beckett Mufson
Feb 16 2017, 6:40pm

Courtesy Public Art Fund

Descension, a massive land-locked whirlpool conceived by art star sculptor Anish Kapoor, is headed to Brooklyn this spring. Commissioned by the Public Art Fund, the abyssal installation will be installed at Dumbo's Brooklyn Bridge Park on May 3, its first appearance in North America. 

An indoor version of Descension debuted at India's 2014-15 Kochi-Muziris biennale, but the Brooklyn Bridge Park's larger iteration is based on designs for the outdoor sculpture which accompanied Kapoor's Dirty Corner at Versailles. "Anish Kapoor reminds us of the contingency of appearances: our senses inevitably deceive us. With Descension, he creates an active object that resonates with changes in our understanding and experience of the world," says Public Art Fund Director and Chief Curator Nicholas Baume. "In this way, Kapoor is interested in what we don't know rather than in what we do, understanding that the limit of perception is also the threshold of human imagination."

The London-based sculptor is known for monumental artworks that play with perception using cutting-edge materials and building processes. His reflective Cloud Gate, a.k.a. "The Bean," has become synonymous with Chicago, and his 376' tall Orbit is not only emblematic of the 2012 Olympic games, but held the record for the largest slide in the world. Kapoor's last collaboration with the Public Art Fund was the 35-foot-wide Sky Mirror, a reflective concave sculpture installed in 2006 at Rockefeller Center.

He's made controversial headlines in the last couple of years after acquiring exclusive rights to Vantablack, a nanocarbon substance billed as "the blackest black." Other artists have criticized his monopoly, such as Stuart Semple, who created "the pinkest pink," and then banned Kapoor from using it—however, he still got his hands on it.

The installation of Descension occurs amidst the Public Art Fund's 40th anniversary. "As we celebrate 40 years of bringing remarkable public art to New York City, it's important to recognize those artists and exhibitions that have shaped the discourse and been so memorable to our broad public audience," Baume adds. "We're thrilled that Anish's newest work will be a highlight of this anniversary season, more than a decade after his outdoor debut with us."

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