Waterfalls Brochure

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welcomeWelcome to the The

New York CiTY waTerfalls!


The New York City Waterfalls by artist Olafur Eliasson is comprised of four man-made waterfalls in the New York Harbor situated along the shorelines of Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Governors Island. The Waterfalls range from 90 to 120-feet tall and will be on view from June 26 through October 13, 2008. They will operate seven days a week from 7 am to 10 pm daily, except Tuesdays and Thursdays, when the hours are 9 am to 10 pm. The Waterfalls are located at the Brooklyn Anchorage of the Brooklyn Bridge; between Piers 4 and 5 in Brooklyn, adjacent to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade; on Pier 35 in Manhattan, north of the Manhattan Bridge; and on the north shore of Governors Island. There are various vantage points along the waterfront in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Governors Island from which to see them (please see theHow to Visit section of this brochure for directions). The New York City Waterfalls provide different experiences at each location, and the artist hopes you will visit all of them. You can get closest to the Waterfalls at Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park, along the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway near Rutgers Street, on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, on Governors Island, and by boat in the New York Harbor. Circle Line Downtown is offering free and specially-priced boat tours to view the Waterfalls. The New York City Waterfalls is an example of public artart that is experienced in public spaces. This project is one of the most ambitious works of public art to date. The Waterfalls will temporarily transform the Citys shorelines and are free and open to everyone throughout the summer and early fall. The Waterfalls, situated in the New York Harbor, are in proximity to some of the most historic structures and areas of New York, including the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, Governors Island and the Statue of Liberty. The presence of the Waterfalls calls our attention to the riverfront and the way it has been and is currently being constructed, organized, developed, experienced and used. We hope you will use this guide to learn more about the Waterfalls and that this work of public art will encourage discussion, observation and understanding of our unique New York City environment.


THE CITY OF NEW YORK www.nycwaterfalls.org

questionsWho created the Waterfalls? The New York City Waterfalls was conceived by artist Olafur Eliasson. Eliasson was born in Copenhagen in 1967, and grew up in both Iceland and Denmark. He attended the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen and currently divides his time between his family home in Copenhagen and his studio in Berlin. Throughout his career, he has taken inspiration from natural elements and phenomena to create sculptures and installations that evoke sensory experiences. A team of almost two hundred people have worked on The New York City Waterfalls, ranging from members of the artists studio and the staff of Public Art Fund, to partners within the City and State of New York and its various agencies, as well as Tishman Construction Corporation, Consolidated Edison, Circle Line Downtown and a legal team from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Among the individuals involved in the project are structural and civil engineers from STV Incorporated, mechanical engineers at Jaros Baum & Bolles, as well as other engineers, designers, specialists and consultants. The planning and development of this project began in March 2006, and in March 2008 the construction phase began and lasted approximately three months. What inspired Olafur Eliasson to make the Waterfalls and to build them in New York City? Olafur Eliasson has been traveling to New York since he was a student in the late 1980s, and he is inspired by the waterways that surround and flow through the City. The Waterfalls address his interest in highlighting our relationship to our environment. The New York City Waterfalls integrate the spectacular beauty of nature into the urban landscape on a dramatic scale. While Eliasson has built waterfalls before, he has never created them on such a grand scale. Why are the Waterfalls temporary? The mission of Public Art Fund, the non-profit organization that commissioned The New York City Waterfalls, is to invite artists to temporarily present works of public art. This allows for short-term interventions by artists into the fabric of the city. The New York City Waterfalls is one of these temporary projects. Are the Waterfalls environmentally sound? The utmost care has been taken to protect aquatic life. Intake filter pools covered with mesh, and located in the water beneath each of the waterfalls, as well as low velocity pumps ensure that fish are not pulled into the pumps. All the electricity used during the operation of the Waterfalls is one hundred percent offset by green powerelectricity generated from renewable resources. The Waterfalls will also be lit with LED lights, which draw much less power than other electrical light sources. What is public art? Art takes many forms including paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, music, dance and installations in the environment. This project is a monumental scale work of public art that responds to a series of sites along the East River. The Waterfalls call attention to New Yorks extensive natural and built environment and ask us to consider our relationship to the waterfront. Public Art Fund has worked with over 500 artists since its founding in 1977. Other current Public Art Fund projects include Chris Burdens What My Dad Gave Me at Rockefeller Center (through July 19), James Yamadas Our Starry Night at Doris C. Freedman Plaza in Central Park (through October 28), and Everyday Eden at MetroTech Center in Brooklyn (through September 7). For more information, visit www.publicartfund.org.

Bernstein Photography

Photo by Amy C. Elliott

how iT worksThe Waterfalls are made of common building materials, mainly scaffolding, pumps and piping. Water from the East River is collected in intake filter pools(1), which are covered in mesh with holes less than 1 millimeter in diameter and secured underwater. These pools protect fish and aquatic life, which cannot penetrate the fabric. Pumps (2) pull water out of these pools and raise it in pipes (3) to the top of the scaffolding. The water is pushed over a trough(4), and then falls back into the river creating a waterfall effect. The water is re-circulated into the intake filter pools and pumped to the top of the structures again and again.

did You kNow? Olafur Eliasson grew up in Denmark and Iceland, and his work is inspired by natural elements such as wind, moss, light and water. The Waterfalls are 90120ft tall. The tallest Waterfall is almost as tall as the Statue of Liberty! She is 111 from her heel to the top of her head. Together the four Waterfalls churn 35,000 gallons of water per minute, which equals 2,100,000 gallons per hour! The water used in the Waterfalls comes from the East River. It is filtered first in intake filter pools suspended in the river to ensure fish and larvae are not pulled into the pumps or harmed. Olafur Eliasson chose to build the Waterfalls from scaffolding because it is a common part of New York Citys landscape and a reference to of the Citys continual physical transformation. The East River is not really a river. It is technically a strait, or a water body that connects two larger bodies of water (in this case, the Long Island Sound and the Upper New York Bay). The East River is part of the New York Harbor Estuary System. That means it is a place where fresh water (from the Hudson River) and salt water (from the Atlantic Ocean) meet, making it a habitat that can host an incredibly diverse population of animals and plants. All of the electricity used during the operation of the Waterfalls is 100% offset by green powerelectricity generated from renewable resources. If there are extreme winds, storms or a heat wave in New York City, the Waterfalls may be temporarily turned off until the conditions are more favorable.





Illustration by Jason Lee

olafur eliassonThroughout his career, Olafur Eliassons work has been inspired by natural elements such as wind, water, light and fog, which have played a role in his sculpture, installations and photographs. However, at the root of his artworks, including The New York City Waterfalls, is his keen interest in the way we perceive the world around us. Eliassons work encourages us to consider what we see, and more importantly how we see and experience our surroundings. With The New York City Waterfalls our attention is called to the riverfront and the addition of something seemingly natural waterfalls that have been artificially constructed. Double sunset, Utrecht, Netherlands, 1999 In this work, Eliasson created an artificial sun, comprised of a giant yellow steel disc brightly illuminated by stadium lights at sunset. The disc was placed so that it appeared to be in proximity to the location where the sun naturally sets; the result was the appearance of two suns sinking toward the horizon. The artificiality of Eliassons installation was revealed by the presence of scaffolding structure that held the steel disc. Your natural denudation inverted, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, 1999 Installed within a large outdoor courtyard at the museum, this piece consisted of a basin of water supported by scaffolding, which was erected around trees in the courtyard. A pipe running from the buildings internal heating system released puffs of hissing steam at the basins center. This site-specific work changed according to the seasons: leaves and snow accumulated in the large, shallow pool constructed specifically for the installation.