New York City Parks and First Street Green have announced the public art exhibition Black Rock Negative Energy Absorber by Penn State School of Visual Arts professor Rudy Shepherd in First Park, Manhattan. The sculpture will be on view at the western side of the park at Second Avenue and Houston Street through November 2014. First Street Green and Shepherd will host a public opening on Tuesday, May 27 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. to celebrate the installation.
The ten-foot tall abstract sculpture is made of wood, metal lathe, and dyed concrete. It continues a series he started in 2006 at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, Queens. Since then he has continued the series with smaller sculptures in varying materials, but this is his return to monumental outdoor work.
Black Rock Negative Energy Absorbers are a group of sculptures with a magical function: "to expunge negative energy--which may come in the form of prejudice, racism or even quotidian disdain"--from the people walking by the piece. The sculpture will free them and "allow them to respond to life with the more open, compassionate, and positive aspects of their personalities," notes Shepherd. The series is his response to living in New York City for the past twelve years and witnessing the city's madness. At the same time, the work is an approach to political art started two decades ago that looks at the problems of society in a more comprehensive way and advances practices culled from new age and ancient religions to heal our divided and troubled country. During the opening on May 27 the artist will hold an induction ceremony where the piece and the audience will be blessed and a healer will activate the Black Rock Negative Energy Absorber, after which it will continue to function throughout the installation.
Rudy Shepherd received his BFA from Wake Forest University and his MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently splitting his time between New York and State College, where he is an Assistant Professor of Art.