A powerful woman awaits on the 10th Avenue High Line bridge – Brick House. Simone Leigh’s glorious sculpture dominates at 30th Street. Walk up the avenue and you can’t miss her. She’s mighty mighty, looming in the distance.
You may have visited the High Line. It’s NYC’s above-ground, lush, landscaped outside art gallery. But you gotta keep coming back. One visit to the High Line isn’t enough. That’s because it’s all about ongoing new work. There’s a constant art refresh on tap.
In fact, they even add parts to the High Line itself. Like the Spur, Ms. Brick’s magnificent corner location until September 2020. Here, she’s the flagship piece for The Plinth. That’s the High Line’s landmark destination for major modern artists.
Brooklyn Artist – Simone Leigh
American artist Simone Leigh introduces her forthcoming series Anatomy of Architecture with Brick House. This work brings together strong bodies and resonant regions. That means powerful women and places like West Africa and the American South. How does she do it? Brick House exemplifies this with a strong black woman.
Leigh’s works are body and building combos. This sounds complex. It’s not. Brick House sets a sublime example. She’s an imposing sixteen foot bust of bronze. But Brick’s also a warm and welcoming lady. It’s her peaceful expression. She impresses with stature. But what’s biggest about Ms. Brick is her heart. Some art draws you into another, better place. Brick House envelops visitors with a profound serenity. She transports us to sanctuary. I loved her immediately – as if she were my long lost sister.
Brick House – Place and Person
Visitors first “meet” the sculpture as a person. She’s crowned with cowrie-shelled cornrows. Her absent eyes lend an impassive expression to an otherwise proud face. This resolute structure reminds me of proud women in my life. They know and love themselves with profound depth. She’s a real person in this – familiar and fond. But there’s so much more to Brick House. Simone Leigh sets a masterful stage.
Her position creates architectural contrast. She’s got a skirt rather than a torso. It references a clay house. This structure’s based on a variety of places. These include Teleuk dwellings from the Mousgoum people of Cameroon and Chad. The restaurant Mammy’s Cupboard in Natchez, Mississippi also fits the bill. That’s just some of the history behind the shape of the Brick House bust.
Then there’s her present. She dwells among shimmering glass skyscrapers. It’s a poignant contrast. The sculpture feels earthy and real. Her surroundings radiate glitz and glamour. But she’s so much more beautiful. You can’t look away. Ms. Brick grounds visitors in a feeling of home.
Many High Line guests visit from other countries. They come to see a place. But they stay because of people. That’s what Brick House reminds us. It’s the people inside buildings that matter most.
The most striking element of Brick House lies in this organic quality. Her authenticity compels walkers by to stop and stare. In fact, driving up Tenth Avenue hasn’t been the same since she came. She stops traffic. It’s not that she’s in the way. This lady makes it seem like a whole new street. It’s an art experience now. Her figure slowly emerges over a bridge, placid and grand – a queen. I got out of my taxi early when I spotted Brick House. The driver pulled over for me and I pointed to show him why I wanted to stop suddenly, He nodded, understanding, “She’s hot stuff,” he said. Indeed this woman of the world brings a sexy beat to this otherwise boring avenue. She rises above the street to elevates the area with her regal presence.