About the Exhibition
Social Progress is an artwork with a message. According to Christy Rupp (b.1949, Rochester, NY), who often uses nature-inspired allegory in her sculptures, “the work is about struggle and working hard to overcome insurmountable odds.”
One of the artist’s most ambitious public sculptures to date, Social Progress was constructed by encasing steel armatures with a durable shell-like coating of Design-Cast, a manmade stone, and then painting the surfaces with auto oil paint to obtain a naturalistic finish. The snail, which is tethered to the ear of corn by a length of heavy rope, measures 3.5’ x 2’ x 6.5’. The ear of corn measures 6.5’ x 6’ x 17’.
Rupp, who is a resident of the Chelsea community, carefully planned and sited the artwork to take advantage of the position and shape of the site, and to make the viewer aware of traffic patterns. The traffic island, with its wedge-shaped contours, echoes the form and direction of the Flatiron Building, both redirecting traffic by virtue of their placement and geometry.