Tompkins Square Park Sculpture Gets Installed, Crocheted, and Defaced in the Space of Three Days

By
Three stages of sculpture.
Three stages of sculpture. Photo: Sylvia Heisel

With the blessing of the Parks Department, sculptor Scott Taylor installed his seven-foot-tall Walk Man just off Ninth Street in Tompkins Square Park on July 29. Representing a giant version of the iconic "cross" signal you can see at street corners in cities all over, Taylor said his work was about the "most famous guy in the world." But the familiarity was soon clouded: Not two days later, the sculpture was crocheted over by artist Olek in black and white yarn. Coincidentally, both Taylor and Olek were in New York Magazine's most recent home-design issue, "Extreme Décor." Taylor and his wife, Sylvia Heisel, were featured for their striking, austere former living space, and Olek for her crazily colored, entirely crocheted one. But they'd never met before this "collaboration" of sorts.

Unfortunately, it was not long-lasting. On Monday, "Walk Man" was ripped out of the ground. Taylor swooped in to rescue it, and the artwork is now sitting in his apartment. "We're going to try and get it a new home," he told Intel this afternoon. "I'm not comfortable with him going back there — as much as I love the Parks Department and everybody there." Taylor had expected a certain level of physical interaction with his work, but this was over-the-top. "I'm totally ready and accepting of graffiti and stickers," he said. "But violence!?"

He's already summoned Olek to come and carefully remove the crocheting so he can fix the sculpture. "I told her if we can find a new home, she can put it back on!"

Related: Masking Apartment [NYM]
I Yarn-Bombed This [NYM]