Thursday, September 29, 2016

The After Hours

photograph by Francis Levy
The naked sculptures in the window of the Park Avenue South storefront have become a kind of cause celebre to Gramercy Park residents, around the corner, who find them inappropriate in a family neighborhood. You have naked male sculptures in the Greek wing of the Met, but their penises are chopped off and these, created by the artist Richard Dupont, are realistically and proudly displayed. The sculptures are on the ground floor of the former Church Mission House purchased for $50 million last year by Aby Rosen’s RFR Realty and appear to be an esthetically advanced means of calling attention to valuable storefront space ("Nine statues of naked men appear in Gramercy Park storefront," New York Daily News, 7/18/16). You might easily look at the sculptures as part of the phenomenon of the pop up gallery, something which is mostly the province of fashionistas on the Lower East Side. But it’s also a form of pop art, to the extent that the word is taken literally and in such as way as to refer to something that may pop up. Here it could very well be one of the penises which are so true to life that they seem like they might easily grow hard were they to be treated to the right gaze. In a famous episode of The Twilight Zone, “The After Hours," mannequins actually come to life on a mysterious non-existent floor of a department store. Who knows what goes on behind the open windows of the storefront in question after dark?

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