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What is the towering rose sculpture in City Park?

Blake Pontchartrain: The New Orleans N.O. It All


Hey Blake,

What is the towering rose sculpture in City Park? I don't remember seeing it until recently.


Dear Tara,

  You are correct — the towering rose sculpture located on Palm Drive in City Park, not far from the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), is a fairly recent addition. It was installed in October 2014 as part of the Prospect.3 New Orleans art festival.

  The 30-foot-tall cadmium red sculpture, complete with roses, stems and, of course, thorns is titled Icon and is the work of New York artist Will Ryman. Though it was placed here for Prospect.3, which ran October 2014 through January 2015, City Park officials say Ryman's sculpture is scheduled to stay on view here until at least January 2017. The work previously was exhibited in Florida and at London's Regent's Park.

  Icon is not the first time the artist has used the image of the rose in his work. In 2011, he transformed New York's Park Avenue into a surrealistic garden, with a row of 38 pink and red rose sculptures towering as high as 25 feet.

  The rose sculpture isn't the only work of Ryman's on display in New Orleans. He is also known for America, a golden life-sized 2013 log cabin sculpture acquired by NOMA with help from Sydney and Walda Besthoff, benefactors of the museum's beautiful outdoor sculpture garden bearing their name. America, which is inside the museum, is a walk-in wooden structure, a reference to the boyhood home of President Abraham Lincoln. Ryman used a variety of materials to make statements about society: arrowheads, shackles, railroad ties, cotton, iPods, chains and bullets collected from the Civil War and World War II — all coated in gold paint and resin.

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