Alan Sonfist

Fundación Ortega MuñozAyN


Alan Sonfist. Time Landscape (1965-1978-)

Time Landscape

En la esquina suroeste de Bleecker Street y LaGuardia Place hay un parche verde cercado que parece ser parte de Silver Towers, dos edificios de apartamentos de la década de 1960 propiedad de la Universidad de Nueva York.

Pero en realidad es una especie de escultura al aire libre: un paisaje recreado por el artista Alan Sonfist en 1978 para parecerse al terreno virgen de West Village antes del siglo XVII.

—En “¿Así era la Nueva York precolonial?”
Por Esther Crain, Ephemeral New York, 30 de abril de 2012.

Alan Sonfist-time_landscape-by-Lydia_Warren-p1100939-1024x683

Alan Sonfist. Time Landscape (1965-78-). Photo by Lydia Warren in Today’s the Day I

At the southwest corner of Bleecker Street and LaGuardia Place is a fenced-in patch of green that appears to be part of Silver Towers, two 1960s apartment houses owned by New York University.

But it’s actually an outdoor sculpture of sorts: a landscape recreated by artist Alan Sonfist in 1978 to resemble pristine West Village terrain before the 17th century.

—in “Is this what pre-colonial New York looked like?”
By Esther Crain, Ephemeral New York, April 30, 2012.

Alan Sonfist-timelandscape-by-Ephemeral New York

Alan Sonfist. Time Landscape (1965-1978). Photo: Ephemeral New York

Time Landscape (1965-1978–Present) is a Land artwork by American artist Alan Sonfist (1946- ). It consists of plants that were native to the New York City area in pre-colonial times. Those planted were replanted here until 1978, on a rectangular plot of 25’ x 40’ situated in lower Manhattan at the northeast corner of La Guardia Place and West Houston Street.

The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation describes the artwork: “When it was first planted, Time Landscape portrayed the three stages of forest growth from grasses to saplings to grown trees. The southern part of the plot represented the youngest stage and now has birch trees and beaked hazelnut shrubs, with a layer of wildflowers beneath. The center features a small grove of beech trees (grown from saplings transplanted from Sonfist’s favorite childhood park in the Bronx) and woodland with red cedar, black cherry, and witch hazel above groundcover of mugwort, Virginia creeper, aster, pokeweed, and milkweed. The northern area is a mature woodland dominated by oaks, with scattered white ash and American elm trees. Among the numerous other species in this mini-forest are oak, sassafras, sweetgum, and tulip trees, arrowwood and dogwood shrubs, bindweed and catbrier vines, and violets.”[1] Sonfist’s intention was to create a natural memorial akin to war memorials.[2]

After the planting, the piece presents questions on the nature of the project and what is “natural”.[3] Post-colonial plants intrude into the park. On one hand, Sonfist has stated that he is not bothered. On the other, the evocation of the past is what distinguishes it from other green areas. NY DoP&R has taken to periodically weeding out invaders and incinerating them.

  1. “Time Landscape”, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, 6 July 2000 (archived link)
  2. Bonnett, Andrew (2014). Off the Map. Islington, London: Arum Press Ltd. ISBN 978-1-78131-361-9.
  3. (in Spanish) Fuera del mapa (“Off the Map”), Alastair Bonnett, pages 43-47, Blackie Books, Barcelona, 2017, ISBN 9788417059026.

—in Wikipedia

About Alan Sonfist (Wikipedia)

Alan Sonfist website