NEW YORK – A bird has landed in front of the Flatiron Building, though this one does not include feathers or colorful wings. It’s 12 feet high and 12 feet wide, made out of nearly 5,000 real and fabricated nails, and called, simply, The Bird.
Artist Will Ryman was commissioned by the Flatiron Partnership, the neighborhood’s Business Improvement District to create his striking sculpture. The Flatiron Partnership collaborated with the Department of Transportation’s Urban Art Program, which helped the organization secure the location and funding. It’s a brave move putting such a large sculpture directly across from such an iconic building, but it ends up being a great collaboration, the nails, usually hard and utilitarian given new life by being shaped into a bird, contrasting nicely against the triangular point of the building
Most of the nails retain their usual shiny silver shape, though some are dyed red and green to create the rose that hangs from its beak, a bit of color that softens the sharpness of the nails. The materials may be seem a bit sharp and dangerous, but there’s something almost sweet about how they’ve been transformed, even if like me, you believe birds are both beautiful and scary.
Whether you’re an avid member of the Audobon Society, or if your view of birds was shaped by the Alfred Hitchcock movie of the same name, the sculpture is well worth a visit. Aside from occasional sculptures at Madison Square Park, this neighborhood does not usually get much public art. The Flatiron Partnership has also never commissioned a work of this scale, but the location has brought countless interested gawkers and picture-takers. It’s not a place where one expects to find a sculpture, right in the middle of a busy street, but it creates a much-needed invitation to harried New Yorkers and tourists alike to take a much needed pause to marvel at the giant bird.
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