UNNECESSARY MEMORIAL: PALISADE I & II (2012)
Wood, plywood, foam, plastic, paint, branches, dirt, and other natural materials.
Palisade I: 16′ × 11′ × 8′
Palisade II: 13′ × 12.5′ × 9.75′
(Installation views: Wave Hill, Bronx, NY, and Hudson Museum, Yonkers, NY)
Palisade I and Palisade II are sculpture projects related to the Hudson Palisades, presented respectively as an indoor sculptural installation at Wave Hill and an outdoor installation at the Hudson River Museum. These works explore the ecology, environment, and rescue of the Palisades in the early 20th century. Drawing on Blane De St. Croix’s deep interest in landscape as a subject, and referencing the historical genre of landscape painting with its accepted standards of sublime beauty, the Palisades sculptures focus on this unique geological formation, which was an important subject of the Hudson River School Painters. The Palisades sculpture projects reflect extensive research conducted by De St. Croix, through site visits, photographic documentation, interviews, internet mining, and satellite imagery. The works and their elements are entirely sculpted by hand, reflecting the artist’s interest in creating an intimate tableau.
The Palisade I and Palisade II sculptures represent a portion of the Palisades’ cliffs modeled on De St. Croix’s research of the rock formations. The sculpted rock formations are assembled and installed in different formations in each venue, customized to engage with the architectural spaces through their mass, form, and scale.
At Wave Hill, Palisade I responds to the interior Georgian Revival architecture of Glyndor Gallery. At the Hudson River Museum Palisade II, installed as an outdoor sculpture, engages the view of the Palisades framed by the Brutalist architecture of the Hudson River Museum. Derived from a common theme, the Palisade sculpture projects are installed in site-specific surroundings that call out different aspects of their underlying grounding in the historical Hudson Palisades.
The Hudson Palisades are steep cliffs on the West side of the river, formed over 200 million years ago at the close of the Triassic Period by the intrusion of molten magma upward into sandstone. This stone is distinct from the schist found on the East side of the Hudson. Preservation efforts led by George W. Perkins (former owner of Wave Hill) and the formation of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission stopped the quarrying for railroad ballast. Through his work with the PIPC, Perkins not only ensured that the view from Wave Hill and the East side of the river would be preserved, but also that the land would be available for public use. The Palisades were designated a National Natural Landmark in 1983.
Photo credit: Stefan Hagen (Palisade I), Jason Weller (Palisade II)