Everything's Coming Up Roses on Park Avenue
The Park Avenue Mall in Manhattan is in bloom. To dispel winter's gloom, 38 of the longest stem roses you will ever see have sprouted along Park Avenue. The colossal red and pink roses have stems up to 25 feet tall and are five to 10 feet in diameter. They are the brainchild of the whimsical, wonderful Will Ryman. A former playwright, Ryman, 41 years old, turned to sculpture seven years ago. His winter garden covers ten blocks from 57th -67th Street.
The seemingly delicate roses weigh about 250 pounds each and are made of fiberglass and stainless steel. Ryman's The Roses is not a factory job as the artist shaped and painted each of the behemoth blossoms personally. The blossoms spring up from their steel stems in eight clusters of four to six rose buds. And like any garden, each cluster has a handful of green thumb headaches ---botanically correct gargantuan bugs and beetles and thorns the size of dragon's teeth.
"With these roses I wanted to do something that was larger than life and site-specific," says Ryman. "In my work I always try to combine fantasy with reality. In the case of The Roses, I tried to convey New York City's larger than life qualities through scale: creating blossoms which are imposing, humorous, and hopefully beautiful. The installation has been presented to the public by New York's Paul Kasmin Gallery in conjunction with New York City's Department of Parks & Recreation, and the Fund for the Park Avenue Sculpture Committee.
With this monumental public art, Ryman has transformed a wintery stretch of avenue into a rosy reminder that spring is on the way.