Thomas Faulkner: People Who Live

About the Exhibition

In 1980, at the suggestion of the Project for Public Spaces, the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation subcontracted the Public Art Fund to design an ongoing art program for Bryant Park. This group was interested in both attracting more visitors to the park, and incorporating art into their restoration efforts. Public Art Fund developed an artist-in-residence program that offered artists an opportunity to create works of art onsite, and passersby the chance to become involved in the process.

Thomas Faulkner (b.1956, Portland, Oregon) created People Who Live… as part of this program. The work consists of a large metal grid bearing plaques inscribed with the names of major battles. The grid functions as a time line of major events “inviting projections for the future we may not share,” writes critic Patricia Phillips in an May 1984 Artforum review. “Rock missiles” are placed throughout the grid, adding to the force of this anti-nuclear message.

The catapults between the rows of empty windows are in firing position; the already-fired rock missiles are in a large central grid that features plaques bearing the names of decisive battles from Biblical times to beyond Hiroshima, through the Vietnam War, as well as a portent for the future.



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