The new 1 World Trade Center opened to great fanfare last month as the first tenants moved into the 1,776-foot tower through a vast lobby dominated by a monumental abstract mural. The color-splashed, 90-by-15-foot painting is among more than a dozen works selected or commissioned for the skyscraper.
Asher Edelman, whose New York gallery curated the works, said the only criteria were that they be abstract, thought-provoking and exciting enough to get people “to look up from their hand-held devices and actually look around them.”
A look at the artists and their works:
The Miami-born, Cuban-American artist is known for his vibrant, large-scale works, which can also be found at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. His graffiti-like mural ONE: Union of the Senses is his largest work to date and was created as a symbol for diversity and unity.
“With the title, I wanted to convey unity among all people,” Parla said. “I wanted to use as many colors as possible. The diversity of color represents people.”
Working out of his Brooklyn studio for the better part of a year on the work, Parla described how he created some of the long strokes by climbing a ladder, putting his brush to the canvas and then jumping off.
The artist fuses science and text into his large-scale paintings.
Randomly Placed Exact Percentages and Isotropic, which flank the lobby’s front desk, are evocative of the universe, exploring themes of science, mathematics and language, he said.
In Isotropic, Argue incorporates computer-manipulated text appropriated from literature like Moby Dick. The text is stretched on the canvas until it’s no longer decipherable.
The paintings are “about the possibilities of new combinations” that expand “the idea of how things can change in an infinite number of possible ways,” he said. “I hope people like the paintings and see something different in them every time they look at them.”
Gravity of Nightfall and Blue Triptych-Intrusion Into the Blue are the only selected works not by a living artist.
The bold large-scale oil compositions fill the canvas with intense swirls of blue, red and yellow and drips of paint. They decorate the tower’s north lobby.
Bultman, an American abstract expressionist who died in 1983, was a member of a group nicknamed The Irascibles alongside Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko. The American painter and printmaker Robert Motherwell called him “one of the most splendid, radiant and inspired painters of my generation.”
Goldberg’s One World Trade Center Series is a group of seven oil paintings on the 64th-floor sky lobby, opposite a ribbon of north-facing windows.
The New York City artist works in natural light, intensifying the color and depth of each painting over several months.
The works are divided into three groups, each dominated by interlocking streams of blue, red and yellow.
“It is my hope that the sensuality, richness and complexity of the color structure are animated by the light and the viewer,” Goldberg said.
Bryan Hunt created the only sculpture commissioned for the skyscraper. The towering work consists of a torpedo-shaped form balanced precariously on a smaller spherical piece in white made of wood, steel and polyester fabric. The title, Prana, means life force in Sanskrit.
The vertical sculpture measures nearly 13 feet by 5 feet and sits on the east side of the sky lobby.