Jeff Koons’ “Seated Ballerina” at Rockefeller Plaza

I am a morning news junkie, more precisely a LOCAL morning news junkie, so I tune in to our local “News 4 New York” station every morning upon rising to learn of the current state of The City.

“News 4 New York” has their studios situated at Rockefeller Plaza, and so as each segment is bidding bye-bye and fades into the vast land of commercials, there is always an outside shot of Rockefeller Plaza in real time.  I first saw the 2107 edition of the springtime art at The Plaza on TV last month, and it intrigued me.

Seated Ballerina 1 - Photo by Lori Florio (My Slice of The Apple)

It is called “Seated Ballerina”, and it stands in the same spot as the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.  Due to popular demand, it will stay put a few weeks longer than anticipated this year, closing on July 5th to make way for the summer art in The Plaza.

I just had to go myself to get a closer look.

Seated Ballerina 2 - Photo by Lori Florio (My Slice of The Apple)

Seated Ballerina 3 - Photo by Lori Florio (My Slice of The Apple)

From this vantage point – viewing The Plaza from 5th Avenue – she looked to me as remarkable in person as she did on TV.  I marveled at how the artist could actually form those strips of metal – tin? – to curve and balance so beautifully, as gracefully as a ballerina herself.


Seated Ballerina 4 - Photo by Lori Florio (My Slice of The Apple)

She shares The Plaza with Prometheus:

Seated Ballerina 5 - Photo by Lori Florio (My Slice of The Apple)

(I LOVE Prometheus, any time of year, so I am sneaking yet another picture of him into this post.  And this, my friends, is why I love having my own blog!)

As I moved closer to the sculpture, I realized that perhaps she wasn’t a sculpture at all:

Seated Ballerina 6 - Photo by Lori Florio (My Slice of The Apple)

From the way she was pieced together, I began to wonder:  could this really be a balloon?

Seated Ballerina 7 - Photo by Lori Florio (My Slice of The Apple)

Turns out, I was right.  To confirm my suspicion, I approached this young lady…

Seated Ballerina 9 - Photo by Lori Florio (My Slice of The Apple)

and asked her about the art.  (Well, they were advertising, weren’t they?)

She told me a great deal in the space of a couple of minutes after I asked her, point blank, if this really was a balloon.

“Yes,” she said, “and they like to refer to it as an inflatable sculpture.”  She then told me the name of the piece (“Seated Ballerina”), informed me that it was 45′ high, and was by the artist Jeff Koons.  She also told me this was Mr. Koons’ third piece to be displayed at The Plaza, his first being “Puppy” (I remembered that one), and the second being “Split-Rocker” (that one, I did not remember).

The last bit of information she imparted was that this “inflatable” sculpture was created and displayed in support of National Missing Children’s Month, as well as the International Centre For Missing and Exploited Children.  A bit of beauty, I thought, to counter-act the horror of the reason for the cause.

There was no sound to be detected here at the inflatable sculpture – the WHIRRR of generators and such that I associate with the inflatable balloons at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or the various inflated Christmas decorations so prevalent on lawns during the holidays could not be heard – and I assumed (but did not ask) that all of the parts keeping the Ballerina inflated were housed in the structure beneath her.

Seated Ballerina 8 - Photo by Lori Florio (My Slice of The Apple)

The breeze moved her hand a bit from time-to-time, but only a bit.  She was securely fastened to the structure.

Here’s another view, from the far side of her, on 49th Street:

Seated Ballerina 10 - Photo by Lori Florio (My Slice of The Apple)

(Yup, I walked right into the middle of the street, forgetting – as many do – that this is a working street in midtown, complete with traffic and crazy drivers who could care less if they mow you down so long as they make the traffic light.  Nothing like the din of honking horns and a few choice words to lull me out of my state of enchantment.)

So I said goodbye to her…

Seated Ballerina 11 - Photo by Lori Florio (My Slice of The Apple)

and went on my way.

It was a lovely early-summer afternoon in the city, even with the crazed motorists.

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