The "H" in Harlem is a large public work borne out of a collaboration between the West Harlem's Community Board 9, The NYC Department of Transportation, the 125th Street Business Improvement District, the West Harlem Art Fund and artist Bentley Meeker.
THE "H" IN HARLEM
THE "H" IN HARLEM TIME LAPSE VIDEO
THE "H" IN HARLEM 6/24/2014
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INSTALLING THE "H" IN HARLEM
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BUILDING THE "H" IN HARLEM
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The "H" in Harlem is an aluminum, steel and light sculpture that will hang under the viaduct at the corner of 125th Street and 12th Avenue. Visible from 125th Street as far as St. Nicholas Avenue.
It will be comprised of aluminum truss structures that shall be suspended from the center purloins of the bridge. The structure will be bolted together and hung by 1/2" steel cables and side braced by same.
The "H" is engineered to withstand hurricane force winds and all fixtures utilized are designed to be weather resistant and to work in a variety of environments.
It is expected that this work will be visible, on a clear day, across the Hudson River from New Jersey.
The "H" in Harlem is a project that brings even more of an artistic vibe to a neighborhood that is already vibrant, and well… Awesome.
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Illustration of the Gotham Hall Oval Truss that forms the oval of the "H".
As this is primarily a lighting sculpture, the ring around the "H" will comprise of some 30 LED fixtures, all white, and the "H" itself will be lighted by plasma lighting fixtures, which is a new light that has twice the efficiency of LED yet has all of the spectral properties of full spectrum and even daylight.
It is the juxtaposition of these two types of light against the aluminum truss that makes the different characteristics of both kinds of light evident.
Through this juxtaposition, it is intended for the viewer to heighten their relationship to light.
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A special thanks goes out to Rev. Georgette Morgan Thomas, head of Community Board 9; Margaret Forgione, Borough Commissioner of the NYC Department of Transportation; Emily Colasacco, also of the NYC DOT; Savona Bailey of the West Harlem Art Fund; and, of course, the extensive team that has been working tirelessly on creating this amazing project.
"As a resident of East Harlem, and a resident of West Harlem for 13 years, I am honored to have been approached to create a public work here in Harlem. This last remaining slice of "real" New York is one of the few areas of Manhattan that resemble the New York I came to love when I got here in the early '80's. It is at once culturally vibrant, gritty and still, even in this age of intelligence driven authorities, a land that plays largely by its own rules. It is that, more than anything, that attracts me to this neighborhood and has compelled me to make my home here.
I was approached by The West Harlem Art Fund to create a large public work where 12th Avenue and 125th Street intersect. It was a lot of driving around the site and looking at the surrounding area before any ideas at all came to fruition. While the scale and scope of the project, apparent from the first moment of discussions, weren't daunting, honoring the neighborhood with a work that would be both respectful of the environment visually, true to my own ethos as an artist, and interesting enough to add value to the neighborhood, became quite daunting. So I got quiet, meditated and let it come to me rather than me try to force it. Sure enough, emblazoned over the 125th Street arch of the viaduct was a great big "H."
I hope that the "H" will both inspire, pay homage to, and show my consideration to a part of the world that is like no other. That I was asked to do this is symbolic of one of the greatest achievements in my career. It is with gratitude, humility and respect, that I undertake this project. It is my ultimate goal that this project will make one of the greatest places on this great planet even better, and if I achieve that, this project will have been an wild success.
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION PERMIT & ACCEPTANCE .PDF
NYC DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION BUILDING OPERATION PERMIT.PDF 6/18/2014
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Newest artistic renderings of the "H" in Harlem at night.