in Public Art
The Guardians: Hero, New York City
In early 2013, Saracino was presented with two new opportunities: to produce a symbol of Italy in New York during the Year of Italian Culture in the U.S., and to create a permanent public art project for the plaza at Three Bryant Park.
His idea, “The Guardians: Hero and Superhero,” is the answer to both. Hero is a gift from Italy to the United States, donated by the Italian Government with the support of the worldwide energy company Eni. Superhero, at 1095 Avenue of the Americas, was commissioned by the Equity Office.
“The Guardians: Hero and Superhero,” consists of two public sculptures on view indefinitely at Three Bryant Park in the middle of Midtown Manhattan. The pair of 13-foot high statues, one in marble and the other in mirror-polished stainless steel, are positioned at the north and south ends of the public plaza at Three Bryant Park between 41st and 42nd Streets. “The Guardians” represent two civic heroes, symbolizing the past and the present, and are consistent with Saracino’s overarching aim to combine digitally generated architectural compositions with a powerful, timeless message of resiliency and innovation.
Saracino’s 8,000-pound marble “Hero,” a reinterpretation of Michelangelo’s David, the defender of the city of Florence, gazes uptown from 42nd Street as a protector from the past. Its counterpart, “Superhero,” who wears a cape and symbolizes the present, watches over downtown from 41st Street. “Superhero” is made of stainless steel and weighs 15,000 pounds. Both sculptures were made in New York City.
The sculptures “Hero” and “Superhero” soar upward through a system of marble and polished stainless steel plates stacked in repeated planes, which recall the architecture of the surrounding skyscrapers and suggest the movement of the figures within their environments.
Location: Three Bryant Park, New York City
Designed by: Antonio Pio Saracino
Structural Engineer: Experion Design
Commissioned by: Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Embassy of Italy, Washington, D.C.; and the Consulate General of Italy, New York; with the support of the worldwide energy company Eni.
Photo: Alexo Wandel, Stephen Smith